'No loyalty' for previous season ticket holders

Wednesday, September 10th 2008, 11:20 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- This week, basketball fans have been purchasing tickets for the Oklahoma City Thunder's first season, which kicks off in just eight weeks.

The Hornets record-attendance during their two seasons here lead to Oklahoma City getting a permanent NBA franchise, but some of those sports enthusiasts are upset because they weren't given first dibs on Thunder tickets.

For two years, James Salvia sat in the Ford Center for every Hornets home game, section 115, row M to be exact. He was a proud season ticket holder, but there's now a chance he won't be front and center next month when the Oklahoma City Thunder hits the hardwood.

"I asked about former season ticket holders and we got the same answer that we're reading in the paper: They couldn't get the list," Salvia said.

The list, which named every season ticket holder for the Hornets, was not given to the city's new NBA franchise.

"Now there is no loyalty whatsoever shown to people that were there all the time," Salvia said.

Thunder officials claimed they tried to obtain the list.

"The fact is, we did reach out to the Hornets," team spokesman Dan Mahoney said. "Mr. Bennett did reach out to Mr. Shinn and we were denied the list."

Shinn, the owner of the Hornets, said that no one attempted to gather the names from him.

Mahoney pointed to a published quote by the Hornets director of basketball operations that "there have been ongoing discussions about the season ticket seating chart."

With the regular season approaching quickly and no season ticket names, the Thunder opted for a lottery system.

Salvia said he is scheduled to go down to the Ford Center to choose his seats, but now he's not so sure he wants them.

"It's left a bad taste in my mouth how this whole thing went on," Salvia said.

There have been 10,000 seasons tickets sold, and about 3,000 remain to be sold.

Mahoney said the Thunder did contact the NBA about the issue but ultimately it was the Hornets' decision on what to do with their list.