- Cathy O’Connor
Thunder MVPs on and off the court
Oklahoma City is getting ready for the Thunder’s first home game of the season. It should be an interesting opener against the New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony’s former team. The addition of Anthony and other players have many people predicting that this will be a successful season for the OKC Thunder. For Oklahomans, the NBA team has been a success since they arrived.
Since the team’s move from Seattle in 2008, every Thunder game has been a sellout, drawing nearly 20,000 people downtown. The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Destination Marketing Association International estimate this to be a direct economic impact of $1.5 million for each regular-season game. The economic impact increases as the playoffs proceed beyond the 41 regular-season home games, as each successive round draws more out-of-town fans and press and added revenue from hotels and restaurants. Restaurant owners across Oklahoma City report increased sales on game nights, including away games when people go out to watch the game. Even the amount spent on concessions and Thunder merchandise increases with the playoffs.
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