From Downtime To Downtown Buzz: Thunder's Playoff Homecoming

From Downtime To Downtown Buzz: Thunder's Playoff Homecoming

Playoff basketball in downtown Oklahoma City had become the norm, but a few down years for the Thunder means this season is bringing renewed excitement.

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On Sunday night, the team will know who and when it plays, and regardless of the time and opponent Loud City will be ready. “We haven’t had a home playoff game in five years,” says Thunder Vice President of Broadcasting and Corporate Communications, Dan Mahoney.

Despite the brief hiatus, Mahoney and the Thunder know this time of year well. “It’s just an energy like no other that happens in Oklahoma,” Mahoney says. “When you’re in the playoffs it bumps it up.”

It’s a bump felt from the court to the stands to the front office, and it means all hands on deck.

Mahoney knows just how rare a season like this is. “Never take it for granted,” he says. “It’s not easy to get there. It’s certainly not easy to get there when you’re going through a rebuild of the team.”

From banners to window paint to parties, there is a lot to plan. For the city, there’s a lot to consider. “There’s security, there’s safety, there’s traffic plans, there’s marketing to a certain extent,” says city Special Projects Manager, Sue Hollenbeck. “Every round is sort of exponential growth for whatever the game is.”

The rebuilding team is bringing playoffs to the city that has been doing some building itself. “We didn’t have the OMNI. We didn’t have Scissortail. We didn’t have the Convention Center. We didn’t have the parking garage,” Hollenbeck says of the last home playoff game. “The city morphed so much in 5 years.”

The organization will be taking advantage of one of those new features. Scissortail Park will be home to “Thunder in the Park” - the pregame party spot.

The arena will also open two hours before tipoff and the Thunder encourage ticket holders to be in their seats 30 to 40 minutes before the game to soak it in.

Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. at https://www.nba.com/thunder/playoffscentral.