The original plan was to curtain off Loud City for the NCAA women's basketball regional at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
But with the Oklahoma Sooners advancing to the Sweet 16, Oklahoma City All Sports Association executive director Tim Brassfield said upper deck tickets will be sold if demand exceeds the 11,000-seat reconfiguration.
“Hopefully that will be a problem,” Brassfield said. “The phones were ringing off the wall (on Tuesday). We'll know more after we begin selling single session tickets.”
The regional semifinals — OU vs. Tennessee and Baylor vs. Louisville — will be held Sunday afternoon. The regional final is Tuesday night, with the winner advancing to the Final Four.
All-session tickets ($35 and $48) currently are on sale. Individual session tickets ($21 and $32) will go on sale starting Thursday.
With several intriguing storylines, attendance might exceed 11,000.
Baylor (34-1) is the defending national champion. The Lady Bears are led by senior Brittney Griner, regarded as the best center in women's basketball history.
Tennessee (26-7) is led by first-year coach Holly Warlick, the longtime UT assistant who took over for Pat Summit, who retired last season after leading the Volunteers to eight national titles.
OU (24-10) has advanced to the Sweet 16 despite a rash of injuries, including an early season knee injury to senior star Whitney Hand.
“We were thrilled that Baylor, with one of the most exciting players in women's basketball history, was coming here,” Brassfield said. “Tennessee brought a great contingent of fans in 2008. And (OU coach) Sherri (Coale), like she always does, gets her teams to play their best at this time of year.”
While the Women's Final Four has been an advance sellout since 1993, regionals sometimes have proved problematic in terms of getting consistent attendance.
Oklahoma City, though, was the highest attended women's regional in 2008 and 2009.
The OKC regional averaged roughly 9,700 fans for two sessions in 2008 with Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Duke. A crowd of 9,341 attended the regional final when the Volunteers defeated A&M to advance to the Final Four en route to Summit's last national title.
The following year, attendance increased when top-seeded OU made a Final Four run.
In 2009, the OKC women's regional averaged nearly 11,000 fans with OU, Purdue, Rutgers and Pittsburgh. A crowd of 11,529 attended the final when the Sooners defeated the Boilermakers.
The Thunder's success slightly affected NCAA men's tournament second- and third-round games in Oklahoma City in 2010. The event was close to capacity, but previous NCAA men's tournaments in OKC were automatic sellouts.
“It wasn't as negative as it was perceived,” Brassfield said. “It coincided with the surge of the Thunder but college basketball across the country dipped some, too. (In future years) we'll see how this market responds with professional basketball.”
With the Sooners advancing as a No. 6 seed, attendance totals could approach, perhaps surpass, the 2008 and 2009 Oklahoma City women's regionals.
“It creates a tremendous amount of excitement for this community when a local team is involved,” Brassfield said. “Volunteers pick up their step a little bit. We're excited about all the teams that advanced here.”
2013 NCAA Oklahoma City Regional
When: Sunday (OU vs. Tennessee at 3:30 p.m.; Baylor vs. Louisville at 6 p.m.); Tuesday (8 p.m.)
Where: Chesapeake Arena
Tickets: All-sessions tickets — courtside levels ($48); end zones ($35); Individual session tickets — courtside levels ($32), end zones ($21), go on sale on Thursday.
Phone numbers: 1-800-745-3000; (405) 236-5000.