Oklahoma or OKC?
NBA commish David Stern guessed that Clay Bennett’s ownership group would be under some “significant incentive and pressure” to make the Sonics an “Oklahoma” franchise” rather than Oklahoma City. Then less than an hour later, Bennett said he was committed to calling the franchise “Oklahoma City.”
I see both sides but agree with only one. Oklahoma City. OKC voters are the heroes in this NBA saga. They’ve three times went to the polls to make their city better — MAPS, MAPS for Kids, and the Ford Center renovation — and it’s Oklahoma City government leaders, moreso than state, who have stood with the business sector to make first the Hornets a success and now the Sonics a reality.
I also think from a marketing standpoint, Oklahoma City is better. Truth is, a lot of people drop the City anyway, from Charles Barkley to less interesting but more cerebral individuals who vaguely are aware that Oklahoma City is the city and Oklahoma is the state but haven’t given it a lot of thought. In other words, call it Oklahoma City, and a lot of people are going to call it Oklahoma anyway. Call it Oklahoma, and no one will call it Oklahoma City.
Calling it Oklahoma would appease the Tulsa crowd that has been very supportive of this effort. T-Town has been a great neighbor. Some from Tulsa might be disappointed if the franchise is called Oklahoma City, but it’s doubtful anyone would decline to participate in ticket-buying if the team is called OKC. Sponsorships from the Tulsa side of the state is another matter. I don’t know if anyone would decline because of it, but it’s another matter.
Of course, there’s always a compromise. Call the team the Oklahoma City Slickers. Those that want the team to be OKC can assume the nickname is the Slickers. Those that want the team to be Oklahoma can assume the nickname is the City Slickers. And those in Seattle who believe Clay Bennett’s group heisted the team will say truth in advertising.
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