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OKC residents flood NBA season ticket lines

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Stores in Seattle have discounted their Sonics' merchandise as the team prepares to make the move to OKC. Stores in Seattle have discounted their Sonics' merchandise as the team prepares to make the move to OKC.
Phone lines lit up as 11,000 people registered for season tickets. Phone lines lit up as 11,000 people registered for season tickets.
Employees field calls as people register for tickets. Employees field calls as people register for tickets.

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

It's official. The former Sonics will make their move to Oklahoma City this fall.

"The NBA will be in Oklahoma City next season, playing their games," the team's owner Clay Bennett said.

Oklahoma is now gearing up for professional basketball.

In Seattle, it's a different story. The merchandise is all marked down at the Sonics' official store as the city says goodbye to the team.

Since the announcement, ticket sales have been non-stop, according to Tim Linville. Linville is the director of sells and marketing for the Ford Center and Cox Convention Center and said Oklahoma residents are already buying tickets to the games.

"This morning, we couldn't keep up. At lunch we couldn't keep up," Linville said. "The rest of the day, it's been steady throughout; people in Oklahoma City are really excited."

About 11,000 people called or registered online to become season ticket holders.

"It's not a priority deal, so it's now when your name hits," Bennett said. "We will take names and we will get back to you. Personal contact will be made to people who sign up."

The team signed up for space in Leadership Square, to house 125 employees, who work on the business side. Some people will relocate from Seattle, but most of the positions will open up to Oklahomans.

"The team doesn't want to be barraged with calls," Greater Oklahoma City Chamber President Roy Williams said.

To avoid that scenario, The Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce added a page to its Web site.

Anyone interested in a job, or in becoming a vendor or supplier can enter contact information and a resume. The team will also hold a job fair.

"It's just much easier to have one place to go to have all that information reside in one database," Williams said. "The team can take that very methodically and make sure no names slip through the cracks."

Mayor Mick Cornett said he's already thinking about the first home game.

"One of the first things we need to do is adjust our timeline for the arena improvements; there are some things we can do to be ready for this fall," Cornett said.

The team will begin practicing in late September, with the first preseason game being held October 8, on the road. The regular NBA schedule won't come out until August, but those interested can register for season tickets by calling 888-618-HOOP or by visiting SuperSonics.com.

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