NBA Lockout Leaves Bittersweet Taste In Bricktown

Monday, October 3rd 2011, 3:33 pm
By: News 9

Jamie Oberg, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma City Thunder is supposed to play its first preseason NBA game in two weeks. But it's not looking too good right now for Thunder fans.

The NBA Owners and Players couldn't knock out any agreements during the weekend over money.

The question for Oklahoma City is what would be the impact on the city, if there's not at Thunder season?

NBA owners and players will meet Monday to talk to try to come to an agreement and start the season. Fans are already missing preseason games and the clock is running out. The court could be empty when the regular season starts.

The Taste of Bricktown was packed with families, food, fun and local music, showing off some of the best OKC has to offer.

No professional basketball needed for now.

News 9 went to sample fans and businesses about how the lockout will affect their business in Oklahoma City if the Thunder is out for the season.

"Oh ya Bricktown, the ACM (Academy of Contemporary Music) all the nightlife here just a great place to be," Josh Daffron said.

College friends Josh Daffron and Jordan Oliver didn't need basketball to bring them to Bricktown, but they are both fans.

In fact, these band members are hoping the thunder call them up again. Jordan's band SquadLive got to play for a Thunder-sized audience when the team asked them to play at a pre-game pep rally.

The two would survive and still come to Bricktown to hear live music and eat, but they said it wouldn't be the same if the Thunder energy isn't pumping people downtown.

"Just the added excitement the Thunder brings to the community, that will be missing," Oliver said.

When we talked too much about the Thunder possibly not playing this season, we saw the sensitive or bittersweet side to some OKC Thunder fans at RedHawk Field.

"I care about the Thunder!" said Krista Artherholt. "I have positive faith, never half full, always half full."

Artherholt, along with every other NBA fan, has waited patiently since July 1, hoping NBA owners and players hash out a deal and the season starts soon.

"All I can do is just root root root," Artherholt said.

Bricktown businesses we sampled were rooting for it to happen sooner than now. They say business is better when more than 19,000 fans travel, and spend an estimated they spend about $1.3 million dollars inside the Thunder arena per game.

"Game nights are a great atmosphere," said John Burwell, "Put A Cork In It" Winery Owner. "It certainly helps make a living."

Not having those fans walk out and maybe buy wine from Burwell…"We'll survive. But we'll survive a little easier if they get something signed and underway," Burwell said.

Bricktown Executive Director Jeanette Smith said businesses aren't sweating it. Bricktown was here long before the professional team was.

"We will survive, as I said they were coming here before the thunder," Smith said.

But having the thunder, she said is like icing on OKC's cake, a much tastier Bricktown.