Thunder steals the Thunder

  • Many of us on this site have commented on the empty seats at Iba Arena and also we saw more evidence last night in Norman. What has happened in Oklahoma is that the Money is being spent in Oklahoma City to watch Durant, Westbrook and a guy who just out of the blue signed an 8 million Dollar contract for two more years, 48 year old Nick Collison. Even last year with Marcus Smart attendance was bad. We all wonder how the Sooners who have been ranked all year had all those empty seats last night. This article spells it out for Attendance in Oklahoma.

    "The arrival of the NBA’s Thunder in Oklahoma City is believed to be one contributor to what the Tulsa World in March termed an attendance “crisis” among the state’s major college men’s programs. In recent years, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have both witnessed double-digit percentage declines in attendance, and Tulsa University’s arena was more than half empty for most games last season. “People only have so much money to spend on basketball, so what game do you want to take your son to? Probably a Thunder game,” former TU player Jason Parker told World sportswriter Bill Haisten. “I’ve been to three TU games this year, and I’ve been to three Thunder games. The Thunder games are always a great show, no matter where my seat is. That building is electric.”

    Kansas and Iowa State seem to be the only two teams that don’t suffer this malady. Both are rich in BB Heritage, Both have colder winters, they both also have poor football teams. Texas has the same problem with all the pro franchises in the area. Maybe it is a good thing that the Sprint Center didn’t get a pro team.

    Attendance is low all over the country except at the blue bloods and the new upstart’s like UVA. The West Coast never seems to have a sell out anywhere except in Arizona. The power of a packed house like Allen Field House is immeasurable. what would Hank Iba say about his arena being half full?


  • @wrwlumpy nick is really old!

  • Great post! Maybe the reverse is also true that pro franchises would shy away from the blue bloods.

  • Pro sports is a superior product to the college game. In the pro game, you will always see talented players on both teams. That’s not necessarily the case in college.

    Pro teams tend to be in the larger cities (New York, Chicago, LA, Houston, Dallas, etc), while most of the strongest college programs are not in large metro areas (Lawrence, Durham, Lexington, Chapel Hill, etc.). No one would put a pro team anywhere in Kansas, so the only question would be whether a team would land in KC. I don’t think it would hurt KU as much because I think a lot of KU fans come from other parts of Kansas and would not necessarily go to KC for a pro team, whereas OSU and OU both draw from OKC and the surrounding area for their fan base, so it hurts them.

    A KC pro team would draw from the KC metro area and surrounding. Some of those people would absolutely be KU fans, but there would also be a lot of K-State and Mizzou fans in that market, so KU attendance wouldn’t fall. The wait list may shrink a bit, but it wouldn’t change the fact that there would be sellouts at AFH. Maybe some of the KC people would give up their season tickets, but there would be people in Topeka or other places that would gobble those tickets up rather than getting tickets to a team in KC.

  • @justanotherfan Financial demographics have proven for decades that the KC metro will not support a mediocre or poor product with professional ticket prices. Think back before the Chiefs cleaned house & hired Marty & Carl how bad their attendance had become. In 1990 they were having a time selling lower price season tickets for a couple of hundred bucks. In the 70’s Kings season tickets were even less than that. They’ve lost so many hockey teams I can’t recall how many, plus the baseball team in the late 60’s. Now, if there’s a winner, or potential winner like in OKC, maybe that scenario would work. The Royals had their best attendance in decades this past year so people certainly will pay for a better product. But big money for bad sports does not work in a metro this small as history has proven many times over. JMO

  • @globaljaybird

    Agreed, especially with two teams already in town. OKC is a one team town, so it doesn’t split the fanbase up. If KC were to get a pro basketball or hockey team, that would be a third team in a smaller metro. That would be tough.

  • Banned

    I’ve often wondered what effect an NBA team would have with KU? It is often said by many that KU is Kansas City’s NBA a team or fourth sports team.

    It seems KU draws from both sides of the state line?

  • Why does Mizzou want to play us again? They did just get the best recruiting class in football today with the number 1 defensive tackle choosing MU.


  • @wrwlumpy Thanks for the grin.

  • @wrwlumpy Something’s not right with this picture - most of the fans are wearing shoes…

  • @nuleafjhawk …and dentures…

  • @wrwlumpy

    Excellent thread! Thanks for putting it up!

    I’m not sure if it helps or hurts Kansas basketball to have Mizzou’s program heading downward. Logically, it would seem to help us because fair weather fans just like catching a game now and then and will gravitate to success more than failure. But I’ve always taken a bit of a different view. That having more quality ball in the area helps everyone. If fans catch quality ball wherever, they are more likely to pursue other venues, too.

    There may be some validity in this thread about OKC Thunder potentially stealing revenue dollars from OU, Tulsa and other college programs.

    On the other hand… the way I view it is positive. Getting fans to accept basketball as entertainment is a plus. Might it be that fans that attend OKC Thunder games may be more open-minded about going to a college game later?

    I’m not sure these are the same markets. You only have to go to a Kansas game to see what I’m talking about. What percentage of the fans attending a game in AFH are either Kansas diehard fans, students, or both? I’d say upwards of 95%. First off… it isn’t a cheap proposition to go to a game. Tickets are high, especially if you aren’t a student. We don’t really encourage opening our doors to lightweights. And when we get a few lightweights, they obvious have the bucks to fair weather it for a night of Kansas basketball.

    If KC has a competitive NBA team, would it damper KU attendance? I think not.

    What builds attendance is momentum. People want to go where other people are going. It’s a crowd mentality. Every time Kansas has a game on the TV the announcers say… “man, if you’ve never attended a Kansas game in AFH, you need to add it to your bucket list!” Of course they are right! It is an experience because of the momentum! The fans pack in and it is the fans that make the atmosphere. Some of us old timers know quite a bit about that. I recall some not so great years of Kansas basketball when games didn’t sell out. The atmosphere was not nearly as magical.

    The problem at OU, Tulsa and OSU is first… the student body does not support basketball! Oklahoma is a football State. Just a year or two ago we posted on here a video of Ford going around in big areas on the campus of OSU trying to recruit students to their games. Can you imagine that happening on our campus? It would be a huge media event and all the national sports media people would probably be in attendance. We’d have the entire student population crowding in because Self was going to utter some words.

    I think OKC Thunder basketball is a huge plus for the State of Oklahoma. And the long run impact will be positive for all the Oklahoma schools and their basketball programs. It is very important that they keep building winning NBA basketball. It is a process of slowly converting fans to accepting basketball as major entertainment. This will take a decade or maybe two. Rome wasn’t built over night. The problems are deeply entrenched in their culture. That’s why even the youth haven’t grasped basketball yet. Students don’t go to basketball games, they go to football games.

    I grew up going to Sooner football games. I was always a Jayhawk… but to catch real excitement I had to make a long journey to Norman. The momentum is there for football. Talk about wild and crazy entertainment! OU fans go all out for football. Painted body parts, crazy signs, real enthusiasm. Everyone wears Sooner red. And the stadium goes nuts!

    It really is less about the game and more about the energy of a crowd! Find creative ways to build momentum… build crowds… and then maintain it. We maintain our crowds by winning. Self is valuable for our program. And with all the fan attention, it helps recruiting. We get more TV coverage and national attention.

    It is tough to turn communities of people around. I do think Kansas fans are the best in the world! We are not really a football State like Oklahoma… but the first signs of a winning team and Jayhawk fans show up at Memorial Stadium. We really need football to be successful. It will help our basketball program considerably!

  • I don’t think affordability would be the issue if fans are choosing the Thunder and thus avoiding OU and OSU. Down here in the Bayou, I will probably go to Saturdays game against Bama and shell out 5 bucks for tickets and then move down to the 10th or 15th row wherever I can find seats and sit there. What amazes me is this years team is decent, they have two potential first rounders, Jordan Mickey and Jarrell Martin, both of whom are averaging a double-double and next years team is going to have quite the buzz with the top player coming in Simmons. I might have to go to quite a few games next year, particularly if Mickey and Martin stick around.

    I’d guess that OU and OSU and a whole bunch of other football schools do the same. Of course practically giving away tickets takes away the buzz factor and there is little buzz when tickets are going for a few bucks.

  • Take the Spurs in San Antonio. No major state college. They are the only game in town. Austin is just 1-1/2 hours away while Houston is 3 hours away. They have ticket packages so a family of 4 can afford some of the cheaper seats that would otherwise go unsold. Lots of people in Austin are season ticket holders for the Spurs and they get the added bonus of seeing their farm team too here in Austin. Factor in the Spurs and the Rockets drawing fans and then add the Mavericks. All successful. However, Texas is unusual because of its size and population that rivals maybe the NY/Boston/Phily/NJ areas.

    All that said, UT basketball sits way behind UT football - always has and always will. I believe that to be based on the product that is produced. Even with Durant here that one year they never sold out. Fans go to the games here to be seen and not really watch and participate in the games like the fans do for KU, UNC and Dookies.

  • @drgnslayr

    “That having more quality ball in the area helps everyone. If fans catch quality ball wherever, they are more likely to pursue other venues, too.”

    Some how I just don’t remember misery being “quality ball” except maybe 20-25 years ago when we were transitioning from Brown to Williams & Norm got lucky with a Stipo, Peeler, or a Sunvold. misery has never ever seemed like more than a one horse show to me.

    I do remember my friend’s son was recruited by Norm & he told me Stewart “chauffeured” them around Columbia & campus in a rusty & scroungy old Caprice that was so dirty it made him think there had been hay bales hauled in the back seat ! LOL! Then when Norm lost schollies for a violation he still wanted Rick to walk on. His Dad was like WTF? Are you serious? Sorry slayr, only thing I can recall being quality from misery right now are some of my relatives & a few buckets board rats. I might also respectfully include “Oakville” in the positive category too. Think he was from in or around ST Louis. As always, JMO

  • Banned

    Just for conversation sake and to keep the thread going. What about the Charlotte Bobcats. The Blue Devils and Tar Heels don’t seem to be hurt by their inception, or am I wrong? Maybe it has hurt NCstate and Wake Forest?

    Though NC is one of the fastest growing states in the country, if my memory is correct.

    I’ve often wondered why Kentucky doesn’t have an NBA team? Is the NBA afraid of Wildcats and Cardinals? Though there has been some back room whispers of the NBA putting a team in Louisville.

  • @globaljaybird

    There is only so much disposable income in any metro area and the KC metro area is probably at the limit of what it can support. I am not sure how well a NBA team would do at this time in KC; with the Chiefs always drawing and the new found Royals suddenly being good again, the disposable income is just not there, particularly since the Sporting Kansas City is also taking a share and it is wildly successful.

    Had they built Sprint Center around the Legends, I imagine a NBA team it would have a better chance since there is a lot more income in the Kansas than the Missouri side of the metro area. Th Sprint Center is very nice and the Power and Light district rocks, however, it you walk a couple of blocks away, it is still a dump and a dangerous one at that. I have been to the Sprint Center for the Big 12 Tournament during the day, but I would be hesitant to go there after dark; I know for a fact that I am not the only one that feels this way.

  • @JayHawkFanToo We’ve had this discussion before & I have to agree that crime around the P & L is quite a problem as it would be in most other cities with as much adjacent decadence. Even as far South of the metro as we’ve lived for the past 10 years, I still have to be vigilant. Sheriffs response time on the only 911 call we’ve ever made was over 10 minutes but I was locked & loaded in 30 seconds.Also rural burglaries are not uncommon & we were actually broken in to about 2010. We are now considering moving completely out of the KC area for our retirement years. The gentleman & his Mother that were shot gunned down last Summer in South KC, along with 3 other elderly neighbors, adjacent to Leawood, was a very dear friend. I am physically just too old to conceal carry, but my sons & I have a 30 yard pistol range out in my pasture. We also occasionally shoot skeet out here too, plus try to keep skills well enough honed to protect our homes & families. We own Glocks, Sig Sauers, Marlins, Remingtons, & Brownings. Quite sadly & regrettably that’s just the way of the world so many live in at present, but on the high side, firearms continue to be a very solid financial investment-Just don’t want to pack one around with me all the while.

  • @globaljaybird

    It is not just the crime but also the crime abetted by the City and the Police. I have friends that thought that by all indications had parked legally in the area only to have their cars towed away and the towing/storage companies wanting several hundred dollars to release the cars and the City and Police would not lift a finger.

    I owned a building in the nearby Freight House District and towing companies would come at night and tow car from out private, off-the-street parking lot; they just assumed that any one parking there at night was doing it illegally and as long as the lot owners did not know, they got away with it. One time my partner was working late and her car was towed from our own lot and we had to go to court to get the towing company to pay for the damage to her car, while the City and Police chose to do nothing. It is a racket and the City and Police are smack in the middle of it. A couple of TV station have done stories on the subject and it gets better for few weeks and then it back to the same old thing.

  • @globaljaybird

    Mizzou has had teams that were ranked. And our rivalry often went back and forth. They seem headed downward to even further lows… their first-year coach, Kim Anderson, comes from D2 ball for the Central Missouri Mules. The Mules? He did lead them to back-to-back MIAA Championships… but seriously… Mizzou couldn’t find a quality D1 coach?

    Can anyone in here imagine Kansas hiring Emil Pospissle from D2 and the Central Kansas Jackasses?

  • @drgnslayr

    Don’t forget they passed on Bill Self and chose Quin Snyder instead. I for one am thankful for their incompetence.

  • @JayHawkFanToo KCMO Public School ineptitude is only surpassed by their city government’s’ inability to do most anything correct. They have thrown close to a billion $ at a couple of miles of light rail, streetcars, whatever it’s called & still have accomplished little if anything that could remotely help those beyond an extremely small interest group. I have been told that nepotism is rampant in regards to this project. Also a close friend who has since passed on, owned a tow service in KCMO about 20 years ago. He told me he paid off a new $90,000 1 1/2 T Ford wrecker in only 2 years. Trucks are exponentially costlier now, but these days the methods & tactics of the KCMO PD & tow truck owners may be even shadier than ever.

  • @drgnslayr LMAO !! I remember a lot of “rank” misery teams too !!

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Talk about a loaded question for Self… “So Bill… if Mizzou had offered you the job, would you have taken it?” 🙂


    It was always fun watching those ranked Mizzou teams eventually melt down. Especially Norm’s teams.

    I wonder if that gas station would still keep their offer today? Remember that? When Norm told the world he wouldn’t even buy gas in the State of Kansas and the Kansas gas station offered him free gas? He didn’t take it, and the entire world realized what a dick he was.

    “Missouri’s former basketball coach Norm Stewart would traditionally have his players stay in Kansas City, Missouri, before playing at Kansas, going so far as to require the team bus to buy its gasoline at a Missouri filling station and reprimanding players who ate in Kansas, as he did not want to put any money into Kansas’ economy.”


    “Sit down, Norm!”

  • @drgnslayr said:

    If KC has a competitive NBA team, would it damper KU attendance?

    It just so happens that KC once had an NBA team (we can debate how competitive they were) from 1975-1985. I would say that the program has experienced this effect.

    During that decade, KU had 5 NCAA appearances and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen once (and lost to Wichita State). Three seasons were .500 or below. One conference title. Finished 7th twice.

    Not sure what the attendance numbers were, but during that period, I attended many games where I could walk in and pick my seat. It was easy to run up and down the bleachers during a game. And for the games during break, when students were out, they would invite local high school basketball teams to come watch the game… There were blocks of seats given to them so they could watch a college game.

    Is it a coincidence or causation that this period was when the Kings were in KC?

  • @bskeet I can’t see empty seats in AFH, ever!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 A scary image just appeared! Many many years ago, I was one of the little guys got tossed up at the north end of AFH to distract the opponents from making the free throws. I had no fear at all if there were nobody to catch me, i will still land on bodies. Wow, in that empty stadium, no way!

    I was fortunate to be at KU when Brown and Danny were there. Yes, part of the 1988.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I know! It’s hard to believe but there absolutely were times where the crowds were well under 10k.

  • @bskeet

    Those were the final years of the Ted Owens era and they ended up costing him his job.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    With the program in his current status, I just don’t see any KC team affecting attendance.

  • KU has been winning titles 10 straight seasons and 3 titles in 4 years for 25 seasons. We have at least 4 ten year cohorts of fans that have grown accustomed to almost nothing but a high probability of a win and a likely title. Our coaches have been talented, popular characters for 25-30 years. Our success is fun and envied. Our corporations and private oligarchs have mostly enabled and shepherded us instead of trying to take us over. The Grail is under our court. Move the circumstance to Stillwater, or Norman, and it would be the same.

    End our winning ways for five years and things would get ugly quickly with frustration and attendance would fall. Ten years and it would all be a distant memory of a gone time.

    D1 full houses at current prices require corporate entertainment fans and rich folk to attend. They go for a fun experience. Watching some top talent win 82% of the time keeps the rich and incorporated butts in the seats. Period.

    KU’s cadre of serious basketball fans that love the game good or bad is big enough to fill the place but not rich enough, or local enough, to fill it at current prices. Most serious fans stay connected through media and see a game a year, or a game every 5 years. Or when given tickets.

    Losing kills attendance in NY, LA, Columbia, or Lawrence in any sport.

    Pauley Pavillion attendance sags in the midst of 10-15 million persons, when UCLA struggles. There are enough persons within a 20 minute drive from Pauley Pavillion, each with enough money to buy Pauley Pavillion, to fill it for any game. But they don’t, and UCLA has a great sports heritage in most sports. Only winning now and recently keeps houses full. Integration with Jackie Robinson at UCLA before the Brooklyn Dodgers? Who cares? Great football teams in the golden age of sports? Who cares? The greatest run in college basketball history in the 1960? Who cares? Rings in the 90s and four straight FFs in the naught decade? Whaddaya won for me lately? Who cares?

    Mediocrity puts attendance in occasional big crowds and lots of 3/4 to half full with early departures.

    Sport is entertainment.

    If it’s not entertaining, persons and corporations find something else that is.

    Bottom line?

    KU has won 10 straight titles and looks to be headed to an 11th.

    Why pay big money to go to a basketball game, when your team hasn’t won in ten years and it appears it won’t this season either, whether the OKC Thunder is there or not?


  • @drgnslayr I’ve heard that story for years - about Norm not spending any money in Kansas. I’m guessing they mean besides the strip clubs.

    No malice?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Nick has aged so much on this thread, he’s got ivy climbing his trunk.

  • @jaybate-1.0 said:

    KU’s cadre of serious basketball fans that love the game good or bad is big enough to fill the place but not rich enough, or local enough, to fill it at current prices. Most serious fans stay connected through media and see a game a year, or a game every 5 years. Or when given tickets.

    I, personally have NOT attended a KU Game at AFH in over 30-years! Me and my wife was fortunate enough that we could go to 1 or 2 games each year and we would sit way up high near the top of the fieldhouse. I WONDER, wonder what is the PRICE of TWO tickets at AFH would be at today’s pricing? (NOT that I would go … physically, my wife could not climb the stairs). Any educated guesses of today’s pricing on two tickets?? Just curious !!! Thank You!

  • @bskeet

    I attended plenty of KU games in that era. You are right in that fact that AFH was usually not full.

    I went to my fair share of KC Kings games, too. They were alive from 1972 through 1985 before heading out west to Sacremento. In the beginning the games were split between Omaha and KC. Omaha! They were first called “Kansas City-Omaha Kings.”

    During that period, they made it to the playoffs 5 times, including a trip to the conference finals. They had some talent… like Tiny Archibald. Phil Jackson was one of their coaches until he was fired! But there was plenty of boring basketball played in KC during those years. I would often catch up on my sleep by attending games.

    For most of their existence they played in Kemper, except when the roof collapsed and they were forced to play in Municipal Auditorium… which didn’t even hold 10k fans. Towards the end of their existence they only drew an average of 6,400 fans per game. Hardly a drain on the Jayhawks. Most of those in attendance were from free tickets given away, like at car dealerships. This is part of my point about how important it is to bring more quality basketball in the area… because bad basketball drives ticket prices to zero and gives out bad entertainment and associates it to basketball in general.

    The team was sold to investors for only $10.5 million dollars in '83, and they were anxious to move the team to a better market… $10.5m wouldn’t have even bought the concession rights to Arrowhead back then!

    I remember the few diehard fans that protested the loss of the Kings from KC. What I remember most was how few diehard fans there were.

    "There was apparently little protest, though, when the Kings ultimately moved to Sacramento.

    “Frankly, I thought I would catch a lot of flak on it because they left very abruptly,” then Kansas City mayor Dick Berkley once told The Sacramento Press. “I got four or five phone calls. I thought I would get hundreds.”"

    Here We Stay? There They Go

  • Both start out empty… But one is filled for every game. Last year, the one on the right was 90% filled for a practice, where many lower middle class fans got to see the Jayhawks in person for the first time.

    To quote @jaybate-1.0, “It used to be that rich folks went on cruises and everyone else went to a basketball game, now, it’s the other way around.”


  • image.jpg

  • Just my 2 cents… I think success begets success. Late pm was not as full as usual, one reason was the royals playing post season, then the weather and a wreck. The few games I’ve gone to, there are always chief players, last week 4 royals players, and George Brett. The fans went nuts and started the let’s go royals chant, pretty darn cool! KU fans are a step up than the rest! Chiefs and royals back each other and I like that they have added KU to that mix. I know self supports them. It’s just fun!

  • @RedRooster I am one of those fans who must budget out at least one game. I make sure that the whole family can go, so it gets quite pricey. The cheapest seats, if you get them early enough for a conference game (depending on which game) ranges from 60-150 bucks. I was able to get tickets to the Oklahoma State game for 65 dollars a piece. And when you buy 7 tickets, gas (I live in Iowa), and concessions, we are easily looking at over 500 dollars for the night. But it is well worth being apart of the atmosphere!

  • @JhawkAlum

    You are a real Jayhawk!



    “Chiefs and royals back each other and I like that they have added KU to that mix. I know self supports them.”

    Right on! I think this has a lot to do with Kansas playing games at Sprint. We have been building a love affair with KC for a long time, but even more in recent years. Sprint is a great venue… especially when you add in the P&L District. Lots of seats and an “away” game!

    Brett has always supported the Jayhawks, even back in his playing days. He was constantly coming to Lawrence with Hurdle to party. Many of us have drinking experiences with this HOF’er.

  • @JhawkAlum THANK YOU! Thank You, thank you … I had no idea what a per game ticket would cost … $60.00 to $150.00 !! Now I have a reason that this ole retired and tired ole man stays home and listens to the game on the radio OR watches them on Television !!

    Thanks again JhawkAlum … you are THE MAN !!

  • @RedRooster Me too Rooster!! No way I can justify 65 bucks a seat when I’ve no lines at the head, no fuel surcharge, no sweat getting the view on the replay, no problem getting a samich & chips at the fridge,…or banishing my most feared dissenter to the bedroom to watch Housewives of Beverly Hills !! Plus my dish is running about $100 monthly without IT or a land line. Guys like us are paying well above enough IMO. At worst, it’s Bob Davis & Gurley on the squawk box w/ brandy & chaser to wash it all to the homeland !! Which I’ve no problem living with. Rock Chalk !!.

  • @globaljaybird Amen Bro … you are talking like me … !

  • @globaljaybird you really need to go w/me to a game, bring your binocs!

  • @wrwlumpy

    Hey, did I say that? I deserve a…PHOF!

    And thanks for that awesome picture of Coach Allen at the field house. I don’t recall seeing it. But I sure do recall seeing those nets a few times, when my pop would take me to the field house during the day time on a non game day.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Here’s a link to the KC Business Journal article on the financial problems at the P & L. looks like the city of KCMO is holding the bag again. PP eliminates PP Performance. Guess the ex Marines didn’t get the message on this one either.

  • @globaljaybird

    I am always leery of developers that claim that the increase in sales tax will pay for the project. It never does.

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