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Interview with Clay Bennett

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: April 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm •  Published: July 31, 2008

No Names chairman Clay Bennett announced the acquisition of the Tulsa 66ers today, and I had a chance to catch up with him for the second time in as many days. In a brief interview with Jimmie Tramel and I, Bennett talked about the Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma City team name debate, team employment and reiterated the team will not play any of its regular season games in Tulsa.

Q: Do you see Oklahoma City playing any of its 41 regular season home games at the BOK Center in Tulsa?
CB: I don’t see that we’ll play regular season games here. But we are committed to playing as many pre-season games as make sense and however many Tulsa wants us to play here. And we’re trying very hard, even though the relocation has just been completed and (other team’s) schedules were pretty well in place, we’re still attempting to schedule a pre-season game (in Tulsa) this season. That’s not done, but we’re hoping to get that done. But we are committed to a tangible presence in the market with our team.

Q: Is there any way to gauge how much of the ticket request list numbers come from the Tulsa area?
CB: We do have information of that, and it’s meaningful. As we look at the spread of where the registrations are coming from it’s generally Para-pursued to the population and the distance. We have pretty significant numbers from Wichita as well, so it’s broad. It’s very significant.

Q: Can you speak to the amount of exhibition games in Tulsa? Do you plan on having them here every year if possible?
CB: I would like to. I would like to play here. I’d like to have a real presence here, and I think pre-season games is a great way to do it because it’s the first look of the year and if you’ve got exciting rookies it’s the first time everybody gets to see them. So we’d like to commit to that, but we also want to do what’s best for the building and what’s best for Tulsa. But we would like to be a part of it.

Q: Do you think it would have incorporated Tulsa into the franchise if it would have been the Oklahoma whatever instead of the Oklahoma City whatever.
CB: I think that’s probably nominal at the end of the day, especially given the fact that we’re committing to making it a state-wide team. That said, I understand that discussion, and I know how it’s done in certain other smaller markets. But it’s how this was put together, and our commitment is to in fact make it a state-wide team.

Q: Can you address the 1,300 people who have submitted applications for employment with the team and speak to what the process will be going forward?
CB: The interest is terrific. I’m not personally involved with that process at this time, because we’re going through with HR professionals filtering through resumes and applications and also overlying what are the available positions and skill sets required. So once that begins to come together and our respective directors determine the various positions, I’ll be more involved in the selection. But from what I understand and know from some of what I’ve seen, we’ve got some outstanding applications and expect to be able to put together a first-rate staff.

Q: How will you all go about selecting a dance team, and when will that process begin?
CB: We’re getting ready to talk about the dance team. At this point I’m not knowledgeable about the process. I will not be a judge (laughs).

Q: Some people want to know if it’s going to be open to the public.
CB: I expect that at some level it will be, but I’m not sure how all that’s going to work except that we are going to have a dance team and that process of developing the dance team very soon.

Q: You won’t comment about the team name, but can you comment on whether it is finalized? Has it been chosen?
CB: I can’t comment on that.

Q: Why was Marshalls trademarked with two Ls?
CB: I’m just not going to comment on the name until we make the announcement.

-DM-

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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