Thunder announces founding partners
I think it was a given, but now it's formal.
Founding Partners’ excited for Thunder
BY STEVE LACKMEYER
October 26, 2008
The Oklahoma City Thunder kicks off its first season this week with five hometown corporations signing up as the team’s "Founding Partners.”
The sponsors are Chesapeake Energy Corp., Devon Energy Corp., MidFirst Bank, The Oklahoma Publishing Co. and SandRidge Energy.
"It is a tremendous honor to have these five significant Oklahoma companies show their confidence and support for the Thunder and the NBA in Oklahoma City,” said Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett. "We couldn’t ask for a better team of partners. They represent integrity, ingenuity, hard work and a commitment to excellence. Besides being successful corporations, each has a long-standing, deep-rooted commitment to the community.”
The Thunder is planning additional corporate sponsor relationship announcements in the near future. Terms of the recent sponsorship package weren’t disclosed.
Four of the five companies were active supporters of the Hornets during their two-year tenure at Ford Center (SandRidge was launched in 2006 during the Hornets’ final season in Oklahoma City).
"The Oklahoma City business community’s support of the Thunder is fundamentally important to the long-term sustainability and success of this franchise,” Bennett said. "We are forming outstanding relationships with our corporate sponsors and we are excited at the possibilities those partnerships offer for the team and the community.”
The Thunder is scheduled to play its opening game at Ford Center on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
"Chesapeake is proud to align our company with the Thunder as one of the founding partners,” said Aubrey K. McClendon, who is the chairman and chief executive officer of Chesapeake. "The NBA’s presence in Oklahoma City represents a historic and tremendous step forward for our city and state. We are pleased to be part of the excitement surrounding the Thunder.”
Larry Nichols, chairman of Devon Energy, said the team’s arrival has already generated excitement in Oklahoma City. The addition of the team and plans by Nichols’ company to build a 54-story downtown headquarters have been widely cited as evidence that Oklahoma City is achieving major league status.
"We are honored to help support an NBA team that will represent our city to the nation and enhance the quality of life for people who live, work and play in Oklahoma City,” Nichols said.
Jeff Records, who is the chairman of MidFirst Bank, added that "MidFirst Bank is honored to be one of the founding partners making history with the addition of Oklahoma’s own NBA team. Bringing this to fruition was a team effort involving many local businesses and civic leaders; now it’s time to build the Thunder winning tradition.”
David Thompson, president and publisher at OPUBCO Communications Group, said The Oklahoman has always been "deeply involved” in "building the community.”
"We are thrilled to support the Oklahoma City Thunder’s inaugural season,” Thompson said. "Our mission is to make a difference in people’s lives and we expect the Thunder to have a lasting impact on our city and the great state of Oklahoma.”
SandRidge Energy is joining the Thunder as newcomers to downtown Oklahoma City. The company is completing its move into the former Kerr-McGee Tower.
"Having the NBA permanently in Oklahoma City is a great benefit for the continued growth of our community,” said Tom L. Ward, who is the chairman and chief executive officer of SandRidge Energy. "We are pleased to welcome the Thunder players, coaches and staff to our community and are looking forward to partnering with them as we work to continue the ongoing development of OKC.”