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Oklahoma City basked in exposure, cash during Thunder's NBA Finals run

The Oklahoma City Thunder's run to the NBA Finals meant sights and sounds from the city were beamed into 215 countries in 47 languages. Fans also opened their pocketbooks to a greater degree than in the regular season, benefiting the city financially.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL Published: July 6, 2012

“Ten years ago, that kid probably had never heard of Oklahoma City unless he was studying the state capitals,” Cornett said. “Today, he can't wait to turn on the TV and watch an event from our city. We can't really imagine today the things that that can lead to. We're on the map.”

The excitement for fans around the country during the finals was revealed in the television ratings, which soared to the second-highest level for the NBA Finals in the history of ABC, which had the U.S. broadcast rights.

Fans inside the arena revealed their excitement with their pocketbooks.

The arena's concession stands raked in $1,000 per minute during the two finals games in Oklahoma City, Desjardins said. Sixty percent of that is kept by SMG and the city, with the Thunder getting the rest.

Fans normally spend an average of $10.62 apiece on concessions during a regular season game, Desjardins said. That rose as the Thunder moved through each round of the playoffs, topping out at $13.81 apiece during the finals games.

Based on the combined official attendance figures for both games of 36,406, that means fans spent more than $500,000 on concessions, of which about $300,000 went to SMG and the city.

Sales numbers for team apparel and souvenirs presumably enjoyed a similar jump, but proceeds from those sales are exclusively the team's and were not disclosed in the presentation.

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