OKC Prepares For Flood Of Fans, Attention From NBA Finals
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Thunder will play at home for the first two games of the NBA finals that start Tuesday; that means Oklahoma City will now be hosting one of professional sports' biggest parties.
At the Concord Hotel, there is no room at the inn for next week's playoff games. The same is true for almost every other hotel downtown.
"It's the biggest convention we didn't know we were going to have until Thursday," said Sue Hollenbeck, the Assistant Director of Sports Business Development for the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Hollenbeck says she started working with the NBA on the possibility of hosting the finals a year and a half ago.
They estimate the NBA, the team, and media will all need about 1,000 of the 1,600 hotel rooms downtown.
The NBA and national media already have contracts with some of the hotels, which means they are overbooked.
"Yes, there are some people that will need to be relocated to another part of the city," said Hollenbeck. "We are working with them. We are working with the hotels to make sure that transition is a positive one."
Rental car reservations are also scarce, partly because of the recent hail storm.
On Thursday, city crews closed off roads surrounding the arena to make room for national media. The roads will remain blocked off throughout the finals.
It will all make life a little more difficult for the locals. Still, it is a problem everyone seems happy to have.
"It's going to be wonderful and crazy in Oklahoma City," Hollenbeck said.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau says it doesn't have any idea how many fans will come in for the game, but there are 16,000 rooms throughout the city. The bureau hopes that will be enough to accommodate everyone.