OKLAHOMA CITY — The NBA Finals are without a doubt the biggest event inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena and the staff wants it to be absolutely perfect for Tuesday’s tipoff, but it’s a monumental project. Now the transformation is already well underway.
There isn’t much time and to make things even more stressful, there is the Barry Manilow Concert this weekend. Crews have been going since last night and they won’t stop until everything is picture perfect.
While you were watching the championship trophy presentation the Chesapeake operations team was already hard at work. A team of about 100 are preparing the “Peake” for the biggest event ever; the NBA Finals.
“Talking to our guys, it’s like doing a 3 – 4 day NCAA tournament all at once. We’ll have media coming in from all over the world,” Tim Linville of the Chesapeake Energy Arena explains.
Workers are removing seats to accommodate the sports and news crews. In fact, Suite 20 will become the live studio for the ESPN broadcasts.
Linville says, “This whole area will be gutted. When they see it on TV, it will look nothing like it does right now. It’s amazing what these guys can do.”
The floor is getting a make-over as well, including new NBA Finals decals. Fans may also notice a new addition to the rafters; a Western Conference Championship banner is in the works.
“We’ll make sure all the fans have a great experience,” Tim Linville says.
There’s also plenty of activity outside the arena. Robinson Avenue, just west of the arena, will be closed for several weeks to make room for media crews, TV trucks, and the ESPN Village.
It’s a 24-7, all hands on deck, operation to make sure OKC shines under the international spotlight.
Linville says, “It’s a great thing for OKC. [I’m] proud to be a part of it.”
You may be asking; what happens to all those seats that were taken out to make room for the media?
Not to worry. Arena officials tell us they have several different layouts and they will relocate all fans that might have been displaced.
The “Peake” is going to look great. As for the downtown area, that’s an even bigger project. With all the construction going on right now downtown, it is a mess. City leaders tell us it will also be transformed in the next few days.