Simpson called the loss “heartbreaking” and said her office worked closely with the Oklahoma City Chamber to secure private funding. NBA rules, however, prohibit team owners from assisting financially because of the possibility of salary cap circumvention. That eliminated several locally-based corporations, including Chesapeake Energy, MidFirst Bank and SandRidge Energy.
Because of the lockout, as well as the small window prior to the start of the film’s production, the studio and other deal brokers were unable to communicate directly and effectively with key Thunder sponsors to gauge whether they’d be interested in supporting the movie.
“With the NBA lockout,” Simpson said, “there are so many restrictions to what the NBA will allow and won’t allow that at the last minute we found out that some of the people we brought to the table would be unable to participate.”
Filming, as first reported in The Oklahoman, remains on schedule to begin in mid-September.