SBD/May 24, 2012/Franchises

Thunder Close Watch Party At Chesapeake Energy Arena After Shooting

Thunder Alley festivities will continue, but game won't be shown on exterior screen
Thunder officials yesterday announced plans for an outdoor block party outside Chesapeake Energy Arena that will begin "three hours before home games,” but festivities “will come to an end when the game starts,” according to Michael Kimball of the OKLAHOMAN. The Thunder will “no longer show games on the giant screen affixed to the exterior of Chesapeake Energy Arena, ending what had grown into an NBA playoffs tradition in Oklahoma City.” Team officials did say that pregame Thunder Alley festivities “will continue on Reno Avenue north of the arena.” The decision comes in the wake of a shooting late Monday in Bricktown that injured eight people. The Thunder Alley crowd watching Game Five of the Conference Semifinals series against the Lakers “had swelled to an estimated 6,000 people Monday, far larger than the crowds that watched games outside the arena during previous playoff runs.” The team operates Thunder Alley “using what the city calls a Revocable Right-of-Way Use Permit, which is needed when an event operator wants a city street closed.” City officials said that the “process to apply for and approve those permits, and ensure event operators are in compliance with a permit's rules, has become so cumbersome and vague that efforts began a year ago to make changes” (OKLAHOMAN, 5/24).
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