ESPN Ranks Thunder 5th Best in NBA for Fan Satisfaction

OKLAHOMA CITY, July 6, 2010 – ESPN The Magazine has ranked the Oklahoma City Thunder No. 25 among the four top major-league sports in its annual Ultimate Standings that measure how much MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL franchises give back to their fans. The Thunder jumps from No. 57 a year ago.

The overall ranking is based on how each team fares in eight categories, including fan relations, ownership, players, coaching, affordability, stadium experience, title track (championships already won or expected in the lifetime of current fans) and “bang for the buck” (wins during the past three years per revenues directly from fans, adjusted for league schedules).

The Thunder’s ranking for fan satisfaction is fifth best in the NBA and places it ahead of 97 other professional sports teams.

Thunder Senior Vice President Brian Byrnes thanked the team’s fans whose enthusiastic support resulted in the high ranking.

“The Thunder organization is truly humbled by the loyalty of our fans, and it is a tremendous honor to have that depth of support recognized by ESPN The Magazine,” he said.

“We have worked hard -- and continue to work hard -- to develop and strengthen the Thunder’s relationship with its fans and our community. It is a commitment we take very seriously. From the strong leadership of our chairman, Clay Bennett, on down, the members of the Thunder family are determined to provide value-based programming and give back to the fans as much as they give to us.”

The Thunder’s rankings by category were as follows:

  • Affordability: 9 (1st in the NBA)
  • Fan Relations: 12 (2nd in the NBA)
  • Players: 9 (2nd in the NBA))
  • Coaching: 35 (9th in the NBA)
  • Title Track: 51 (10th in the NBA))
  • Ownership: 43 (11th in the NBA)
  • Bang for the Buck: 53 (13th in the NBA)
  • Stadium Experience: 66 (14th in the NBA)

ESPN The Magazine writer Charles Curtis noted that the Thunder made a sizable leap from its No. 57 ranking last year.

“The Thunder bolted up the rankings in part because of their first playoff appearance in just their second year in OK City,” he wrote. “The Thunder now own a top-10 ranking in Players and a top-12 in Fan Relations because of their on-court prowess and off-court dedication to the state of Oklahoma.”

He added that player appearances in the community and other initiatives have strengthened the relationship between the team and its fans.

“No wonder the Thunder are making serious noise,” wrote Curtis.

The full fan survey and additional information is available online at http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/teamrankings.