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Storm Fans & Select-A-Seat: A Perfect Match

Jonathan Tallariti, storm.wnba.com | January 9, 2008
Waking up and finding a note from a spouse in the early hours of the morning can oftentimes be worrisome, but that scenario took a new and relieving twist for Seattle Storm season-ticket holder Cathy Jo Morris.

At 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, Morris woke up to feed her baby. She found a note written by her husband attached to the lamp. The note, which had a drawing of the Storm’s logo, informed her of the news about the team’s new ownership group, Force 10 Hoops, L.L.C.

“I was thrilled,” said Morris, a season-ticket holder since the team's inception. "They're local and they're all women. How great is that? I'm so excited. I can't wait."

Morris and other Storm season ticket holders were welcomed back to KeyArena on Wednesday for the first day of the team's Select-A-Seat event, a two-day campaign that Karen Bryant, the team's chief operating officer, calls the "single most important sales event of the year." The event is key for selling tickets to new and existing season ticket holders and allowing fans the chance to "test drive" new seating locations.

Seats in KeyArena that are not currently held by season ticket holders are covered with white plastic that reads “available seats.” The red chairs that are already reserved for season ticket holders noticeably outnumber the seats covered in white plastic, showing that fans are continuing to support the Storm and tickets are moving fast. As seats are selected, Storm employees are removing the white plastic.

“The white bags that start disappearing give you a visual. They are replaced by boys, girls, men and women," Bryant said.

News of the team having a long-term future in Seattle has energized fans, and the evidence is easy to find. Bryant said her voicemail box was full and noted she had received more than 400 e-mails since the announcement that Force 10 Hoops, L.L.C. had secured the rights to purchase the Storm. Fans are sharing their joy on the team's official blog, StormTracker, found on storm.wnba.com. At the Team Shop located near KeyArena, employees noted interest in Storm merchandise had picked up considerably in the past 24 hours.

That spirit was evident inside the arena Wednesday, where a festive atmosphere awaited Storm fans. Green, yellow and red balloons decorated chairs, railings and tables, and team representatives were eager to assist and answer questions. At various spots in the arena, tables are full with complimentary T-shirts, key chains, 2008 game schedules and literature about various sales offers.

Priority numbers were given to season ticket holders based on tenure with the team. Every two minutes appointments are held, where season ticket holders are able to reserve their seats for the coming season, which tips off in May, or make an upgrade to new seats.

Heather Diller and Andreea Niculescu, both founding season ticket holders, were at KeyArena, enthusiastic about next season. The passion is back and there is a fresh new outlook, they said.

Woody Brunsell, a season ticket holder for seven seasons, was back at KeyArena to stake his claim on his seats. Brunsell has used this day the past few years to take the Storm up on their select-a-seat offer.

He started out with two seats in 2002 and the following season he upgraded to four courtside seats. Since then, he has added two more seats, giving him a total of six courtside seats. Wednesday, Brunsell was considering yet another location, enjoying his view from the under basket opposite the visiting team.

Brunsell gave a positive and upbeat reaction to the news of having a new ownership group.

“I love it,” Brunsell said. “I was horrified we wouldn’t have a team. I hope everything works.”

His reaction was similar to the hiring of new coach Brian Agler, who will be the third coach in the history of the franchise.

“The coach was my first choice,” Brunsell said. “I thought he did a great job as coach of the Columbus Quest in the ABL.”

The emotions the fans have already displayed show that the Storm will continue to be a big hit in the coming years. Needless to say, fans were overly excited and relieved by the news. After Tuesday’s announcement, the reaction and comments started coming in through the Storm’s online blog.

The first of many posts was by ‘excited storm fan,’ who said “Anne, Ginny, Lisa, and Dawn -- You rock! Thank you for giving our community the opportunity to enjoy many more years of professional women's basketball in Seattle. Now watch, as we come together and support this team like never before!”

The season tips-off against the Chicago Sun on Saturday, May 17, and while tickets are going fast, there are still seats available.