OKLAHOMA CITY –Thunder super fans like Angela Milligan were hopeful the Thunder’s trip to the NBA Final might bolster the argument for a return to the old “Thunder Alley” watch party just outside Chesapeake Arena during games.
The city and the team haled the watch party in the wake of a shooting that left eight people hurt earlier this spring.
“It brought our city a diverse crowd, and we think it was a matter of enforcement, rather than anything else,” says Milligan.
Thunder spokesman Dan Mahoney says don’t expect the watch party to come back.
“We made the decision a couple of weeks ago to not have the outdoor viewing party. That has not changed,” says Mahoney.
City leaders don’t plan to change it either. OKC mayor Mick Cornett says that decision something they left to the Thunder. And the Thunder is clear that there will be no watch party.
“The fact is, it was just getting a little bit too big. The city, the police department all told us this is getting out of hand,” says Mahoney.
But that answer leaves fans like Angela disappointed.
“We paid for the Jumbotron, and we paid for the arena and we paid for all the development that you see around the city with all of the MAPS initiatives and some of that money should have been budgeted for special events to provide for enforcement and protection of the citizens during special events,” she says.
Sara Celi Reporting