View Full Version : Build it and they will come

09-23-2005, 12:22 PM
Well, I think the Ford Center has definitely proved that statement. Anyone think we should go ahead and start building an NFL stadium?

I'm starting to agree with mranderson. We need to build it first, and then it will come. Waiting to build it fter they come simply isn't going to work. With the airport, many have said not to enlarge it because we don't have the traffic. I say build it and the traffic will come.

"Mayors due credit for landing Hornets

By John Rohde
The Oklahoman

Oddly enough, a baseball reference explains best why an NBA team is coming to town.

Imagine former Oklahoma City mayor Ron Norick as the starting pitcher, successor Kirk Humphreys as the set-up reliever and current mayor Mick Cornett as the closer.

This mayoral pitching staff completed the Ford Center.

And without the Ford Center, the Hornets wouldn’t be on their way here.

“It’s the old, ‘If you build it, they will come,’ “ Humphreys said. “I guarantee if we had not built it (the Ford Center), they wouldn’t be coming.”

Norick (in office from 1987-1998) started the process by targeting a new arena as the key component in the Metropolitan Area Projects, which voters approved in 1993. Humphreys (1998-2004) made sure the structure wound up being built when funds ran low. Cornett (elected 18 months ago) is taking full advantage by using it to lure the displaced Hornets into a 19,675-seat facility.

All three were on hand Wednesday for the Hornets’ initial news conference, each making sure credit was shared.

“I think it took someone like Ron to get MAPS going,” Humphreys said. “Honestly, I don’t think I could have ever done that. I think it took someone like me to finish it. Now you’ve got a sports guy (Cornett, a former local sportscaster) in there who’s got it wired right for someone to use it.”

And to think the Ford Center nearly crumbled before it was built.

In 1997, when Norick was on the verge of leaving office, MAPS had reached a shortfall of $10.8 million before construction had even begun on the arena.

Humphreys faced Guy Liebmann in the 1998 mayoral race. Part of Liebmann’s campaign proposal was to draw money away from the arena to cover shortfalls caused by other projects.

“His idea was to put the arena on hold, which would have killed it,” Humphreys said. “I felt like it would have gutted the whole deal. I said, ’We started nine projects and we need to finish them right,’ and that’s what we did.”

Humphreys won in a landslide 67.6 percent to 32.4 percent.

At Humphreys’ urging, city voters approved a measure to extend the initial five-year, one-cent sales tax an additional six months to keep the Ford Center project intact at its original cost of $89 million.

To this day, citizens still thank Norick for proposing MAPS.

“Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” Norick said.

The Hornets’ pending arrival has the city’s last three mayors basking in the glow.

“In the last 15 years, Oklahoma City has had an incredible run of a lot of people being in the right place at the right time, not just the mayors,” Humphreys said.

“I’m very pleased for Mick. I never thought he’d get it done this quickly. He’s a sports guy. At times, I’ve wondered if he wasn’t too focused on sports. But it looks like he’s hit a home run.”

Ford Center general manager Gary Desjardins was raised in - of all places - New Orleans and made note of how the city stayed the course. Rarely does politics remain pointed in the same direction with three different leaders.

“Oklahoma City is a very unique city in that regard,” Desjardins said.

In addition to being home to the Oklahoma City Blazers hockey team and the Yard Dawgz af2 franchise, the Ford Center is the annual site of the All-College Classic, has twice hosted first-and second-round games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, will host the 2006 NCAA wrestling championship and the 2007 men’s and women’s Big 12 basketball tournaments.

The arena also has drawn numerous musical acts including Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Elton John, Dave Matthews, Prince, plus a Billy Graham crusade and numerous conventions.

Long considered a bargain, the Ford Center has more than paid for itself.

“Since there’s no debt on it, it’s pretty easy to pay for itself,” Norick said. “The Ford Center is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.” "

09-23-2005, 12:23 PM
Want to see the Hornets?
A quick glance at what it will cost to see a Hornets’ game this season.

4,000 single-game tickets will be sold for each of Oklahoma City’s 35 home games for $10.

3,500 more single-game tickets will be sold for $20 or less.

Season ticket packages start as low as $379, and lower level season tickets begin at $999.
Hornet officials wouldn’t be exact, but the most expensive tickets could cost up to $1,000 for a single game and up to $35,000 for a season ticket. Other season ticket packages range between $7,500 and $16,000.

The Hornets are also selling a half-season (17 games) and a 12-game package. Fans will not be able to choose the games they want to see for the half-season and 12-game packages. The team will assign the games which would apply.
How to get tickets

Go to or call 1-800-714-6018 between 9 a.m.- 9 p.m., central time.
Fans can reserve a ticket with a $200 (per seat) deposit. Fans don’t have to immediately decide what kind of ticket package they want. However, it’s first come, first served. So, the earlier a person calls, the better the seat is.

The Hornets have not assigned tickets to certain areas of the Ford Center yet. Hornet officials said they will be doing that within the next few days.

Once a deposit has been made, the purchaser will receive a confirmation email from the Hornets. The purchaser will receiver another email five-to-seven days later with all the details for the different packages up for sale.

The Hornets will hold an ”Open House,” tentatively set for Oct. 1 for season ticket holders. The team contacts each purchaser based on the order in which tickets were bought to let them know when they can come to the Ford Center and personally pick out their seat, depending on the dollar amount spent.

Single-game tickets will not go on sale until mid-October.
By Andrew Gilman