Oklahoma City Thunder

Letter to Oklahoma City: Fans Deserve Thunder Alley

Letter to Oklahoma City: Fans Deserve Thunder Alley

One of my twitter followers emailed me this. It was needed, and for the most part, he’s very accurate.  Give it a read, and I’m going to leave it open for comments and discussion.

Dear Citizens of Oklahoma City,

We as citizens of OKC recognized the opportunity years ago when we made commitments in various MAPS proposals that the method to grow our City was to take upon temporary taxation to build projects that have changed our lives. Of most recent was the MAPS3 proposal, also known as “THE BIG LEAGUE CITY” by our very own Mayor, Mick Cornett. Forefront of this campaign was major upgrades to the then Ford Center, furthermore, the Video board

that now projects the games to the Thunder Alley watch party. When this idea was pinpointed I remembered specifically the “concourse” area (whatever the name is) outside the American Airlines Center in Dallas. I have witnessed that area during hockey games & during Big XII Basketball tourney and that is a party atmosphere. One thing that sets it apart from what we’ve witnessed in our Thunder Alley was size/scope and security. There were Police on foot, bicycles and some private security all in that area. In addition to the more confide area of Dallas it is not set-up in the middle of an existing street nor is it a temporary venue.

But when OKC wanted to become a Big League City it also should be noted that organization, security, and logistics should be CORNERSTONE of those efforts; else you’ve set yourself up for problems that rapidly become unmanageable. Citizens from all over the metro area have paid the MAPS taxes, most without a complaint, because we knew we were gonna become a Big League City. With the recent tragic incident, I believe our City has let us down. Many people that show up for the Thunder Alley events–Pregame & Game Viewing–are unable to afford tickets or have families that preclude them from buying that many tickets. These are the same people that ponied-up for the Sales Taxes, so in a small way they are reaping their rewards.

When I attend EVERY home Thunder game I am witness to the fact that our City Police do very little in the way of Crowd control, Traffic Control nor Security. They sit in their cars or on the motorbikes or stand on the street corner chatting or talking on their cell phones. NO walking amongst the crowds checking for misbehavior, NO directing foot & auto traffic for safe passage, NO interaction whatsoever. Is it lack of training, motivation, direction, involvement? Who knows? But I do know this: I pay Taxes, I vote, I campaigned for the MAPS3 Big League City and this was NOT what I envisioned.

Did MAPS3 pay for more cops? Directly no, however, MAPS3 has been a boon beyond belief. Millions of dollars are poured into Downtown OKC for virtually six months every year DIRECTLY from Thunder Basketball and when that much money enters the City’s economy the resulting sales tax increase should provide for more public services. So indirectly, MAPS3 SHOULD be providing for the revenue stream for better protection for the events that are resultant of MAPS3.

The problems during the Lakers watch parties could have happened ANYWHERE a few people gather: Festival of the Arts, State Fair, Memorial Run. But they haven’t; why? Security. There are Police Officers all over the place at those events, directing traffic, crowd control, and mingling amongst the masses.

I will not disagree with anyone that the shootings were not at the Thunder event but in the Bricktown area after the game and certainly the Police cannot be EVERYWHERE. But I can assure you, when Cops are around–closeby or in the vicinity–behavior is influenced. The two groups of people that caused the shootings may or may have not been to Thunder Alley so relating them the closure of a successful Party is ridiculous. The Mayor is shutting down or restricting this street party because of a few knuckleheads. Generally speaking, there were Twenty-Five Thousand people in a few square blocks and four or six people caused a tragic incident that will ultimately kill a successful gathering for a single cause.

We deserve better. A resolution needs to be found: Cox Convention is a short-term answer. But in the long-run, Thunder Alley should return to the very street that an alley refers to. The pregame party and game viewing should be available for everyone. Crowd control, security, groundskeeping, set-up & breakdown, food & drink vendors, non-basketball entertainment all should be on the table and all should be involved in the outcomes. If Oklahoma City wants to be Big League, let’s act Big League.

Best Regards,

Nathan Berry

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View Comments (25)

25 Comments

  1. Chuck Chaney

    June 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Can we get an example? We’ve had no issues on a droid currently. Do you have a screen shot?

  2. Anonymous

    May 27, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    I rarely go to events in Bricktown, but I have gone to Thunder watch parties in Thunder Alley (including this one). In following the story, I heard that the shooting was gang related and started outside of Harkins Theater. I also heard that recently gangs started hanging out in Bricktown – especially at Harkins. I also heard that there has been another shooting in Bricktown since then If this is true, OKC has a much bigger problem, one that isn’t going to be solved by shutting down the watch party at Thunder Alley.

  3. www.det0nator.com

    May 27, 2012 at 1:36 am

    I will immediately take hold of your rss feed as I can not to find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please allow me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  4. Bonnie

    May 26, 2012 at 6:16 am

    Nathan Berry wrote it well. I must agree that Thunder Alley has become a phenomenon of its own. Basketball season is only for a few months and there isn’t any other activity in the state that offers a comradery of this nature. It means so much to so many and brings additional revenue to the downtown area. I don’t attend the games myself, but I feel the vibration of the city through Thunder Alley and the games. I completely agree that additional security / police should be on hand for this event. It should continue!

  5. courtney

    May 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Let’s protest for thunder alley

  6. blondie

    May 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I agree with the people above keep thunder alley alive, people would be willing to pay a few dollars for security and have food fendors out there helping to bring in extra money. Hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn. Even a beer vendor think of all the money that could be made to help OkC. What happened with the shooting was horrible but wasnt meant to be thunder alley. It could happen anywhere. Pass this along people keep Thunder Alley Alive

  7. God's Guy

    May 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I agree. I’m from Altus Oklahoma and i was there ay game 5 of the Lakers. So I traveled almost 150 to be apart of such a wonderful event.
    There were others who traveled with me also. I believe it is a shame that we as true fans have to suffer for what some teenagers did. On the other hand this could have happen anywhere. I’m not condoning what took place. Im simply stating the obvious. Thunder Alley needs to remain just that. Great atmosphere. #THUNDER UP¡¡!!

  8. August

    May 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Everyone was caught off guard with this horrible act of terrorism!!! Avery Meyers should be charge as such! Avery does not value human life!! He kept on shooting, shooting, and shooting!!! So why value his!!! Thunder Alley is great for our communtiy and should remain open. Take the corrective measure to increase security for all those who enjoy Thunder Alley!!!

  9. Anonymous

    May 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Lets make them change

  10. king

    May 24, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I like this. I would like to attend the thunder alley party. So beef up the police present. Then no problems can ever get started.

  11. Tyler

    May 23, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Some friends and I were planning on attending Thunder Alley for the series agaisnt the spurs if we were unable to get tickets for the game. Closing Thunder Alley because of the actions because of .0003% of the people downtown for the night is ridiculous. Instead of closing it make sure you have enough police and security. I’ve been to college sporting events that have 80,000 people leaving at once and the police and security have done great jobs preventing fights. So please reconsider closing Thunder Alley.

  12. Alisha Mitchell

    May 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Dont take away thunder alley or the game. Tighten up security!

  13. Mr. Smith

    May 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Thunder Alley isn’t a priveledge, it’s a constitutional right. We are allowed to “peacefully gather” anywhere we please. If that means joining a watch party in front of “our” stadium to support “our” team then we should be allowed to do that. Any and all ramifications that result in this gathering fall directly on municipalities. As an individual who was present, the police presence was pitiful. They were at street corners and the edges of the crowd, that’s it. There was a throng of people dead center where you were hardly able to move because you were bottlenecked by vendors and bleachers. Don’t punish the fans for attending something that was broken. Fix the problems and the shoulder to shoulder conflicts won’t arise. We need soneone to take accountability not finger pointing.

  14. MacyJune

    May 23, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I agree with this letter! It’s so true!

  15. Jim

    May 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I regularly attend Thunder home games and park in the Cox center. I would add these observations:
    1. There are more police guarding the scorer’s table in the arena than present in the Alley.
    2. I have never seen a policeman or security in the Cox center garage after a game. There’s always plenty of police cruisers parked there (often in the no-parking zones I might add). It makes easy prey of those fans who are last to leave. I’m surprise there hasn’t been an incident up to this point.
    3. Traffic control was non-existant after the last game. I saw numerous near misses, blocked intersections and cases of road rage all because of no police directing traffic along E.K. Gaylord from Reno north. I’d guess the west side traffic was just as bad.

    I have attended numerous New Orleans Mardi Gras in a crowd of over a million people and was rarely out of sight of a cop. I saw fights breakout but within minutes they were broken up by the “zero-tolerance” NOPD and the participants were getting a paddy wagon ride to a not very nice jail. If N.O. can make a million people feel safe and secure surely OKC can for a few thousand.

    The City needs to step up its perimeter security presence along with the Thunder organization for the Alley. Doing away the the Alley lends credence to the MAPS “againers” who argued it was a tax on everyone to the almost exclusive benefit of the 1%ers.

    If we can’t provide sufficient clear security presence for the few blocks of the arena and Bricktown I wonder how we intend to do so for the prospective patrons of the new “core-to-shore” 80 acre park?

    I’m a big fan of OKC’s biggest cheerleader Mayor Mick, but he’s wrong on this one and needs to reconsider his position; Chief Citty needs to put more (engaged) boots on the ground (how about bringing back the mounted patrol for extra crowd control?). I expect City and Thunder leadership to respond creatively and rationally and not make a hasty, emotionally-based decision to do away with a signature community event. Let’s keep the Alley open for all the fans.

    Thunder Up!

  16. Pingback: Thunder Alley « Cold World

  17. Cori

    May 23, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I agree 100% People constantly talk about how Oklahoma can’t handle a NBA team and now look at us! We’re going to the SHIP! (CHAMPIONSHIP) Don’t punish everyone for what 2 or 3 people did. That was my 1st time in Thunder Alley and regardless to the amount I had to pay to park or the distance I had to walk to get there, I would so it again. Get more security down there like you guys do for ever other event and things will be fine. No, I’m not saying that someting won’t happen, but at there were over 20,000 people walking around down there and that was the only incidnet that took place. We deserve the right to gather and cheer on our team!

  18. Angie

    May 23, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I agree 100%. Knee-jerk reactions to an incident only cause further issues. The incident in question has not been directly tied to Thunder Alley, did NOT occur in Thunder Alley, and could happen ANYWHERE. I used to work in a police department. We had someone murdered in our parking lot. There will still be 18,000+ fans leaving each game, so should we therefore shut down all games in Oklahoma City? That doesn’t make any sense. This mindset is also dangerous in the fact that it also sends a message to the “thugs” and people with that mindset that they do wield some power, which we know is not a good thing.

    Our city leaders need to address the REAL issues. Make positive changes, but do not overreact and take something away that this community deserves for helping to BUILD this DREAM! How many times did the National broadcast pan out to Thunder Alley during the last game? Our fans are a major part of why our franchise is so successful and have brought so much attention to our city.

  19. Nathan

    May 23, 2012 at 6:33 am

    I agree, I haven’t attended thunder alley with as many people that were there Monday night, but my friends told me there were many fights/arguing. Police or security should always be around to make people think twice about acting out. They walked a block into brick town and back not seeing one cop. With that many people in one place they should be ready for anything. That said For them to think the only solution is to not allow thunder alley isnt fair. With precautions made we can make it a safe way to celebrate a great thing for our state. Thunder alley or not there will still be masses of people in brick town so you need another solution.

  20. Rich

    May 23, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Please don’t let the actions of some thugs steal our Thunder.

  21. Dakota

    May 23, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Thunder alley is to big to shut down. Our fans are the envy of the entire NBA and probably most professional teams across the board. THOUSANDS of loyal fans drive from all over the state every single home game to pack the arena, alley, and every bar in beicktown. We drove from owasso, ok just for the atmosphere of the alley. If they close it down it would be a huge blow to our moral as a fan base.

  22. Tyler

    May 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    if they end the watch party we all should writer letters to our CIty Leaders and tell them that they should continue to do ThunderAlley watch party

  23. Randa

    May 22, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    This is a great idea….. I thought they should be having watch parties in thunder alley even when there is road games during the playoffs!!!!!! Don’t stop it just because of one idiot Bringing the fans together is what it’s all about but bring out the cops and security to make it safer

  24. D. Ross

    May 22, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Thunder alley is a unique place and should stay. Thunder fans are the best and it gives off a great energy and atmosphere. Hope one bad egg doesn’t ruin it.

  25. A Cummings

    May 22, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    I agree with this! Let’s fix the problem and not let someone ruin this for the whole state!! Police and security should of already been put thru out brick town period!! We always say we want okc to thrive,well let’s make Oklahomans feel safe again!! Work together and thunder up!!!

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