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Twenty-six sponsors have been with the Thunder through all 10 seasons. Their financial support for the Thunder is vital, their contribution to the game night experience is essential. We think you’ll agree.
TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT
Of all the on-court contests the Thunder runs during breaks in the game – including the Homeland blowup ball drop and various Cox shooting promotions -- none are more popular than the MidFirst Bank $20,000 half-court shot. When the action of the game dies down and the teams are at their benches, talking over strategy with coaches during a timeout, the focus moves to two amateurs – just random people from the crowd, one of whom will win a chance to make a lot of money on a very difficult shot.
In the 10 seasons of Thunder Basketball, 11 fans have made that shot, totaling $220,000 in prize money that does not include the $100 bonus given to contestants for misses that hit the backboard. Consider this: Nobody made the shot in the first two seasons. In fact, it took 97 games before the promotion had its first winner, Robert Yanders. Yet in 2013, five contestants drilled the half-court shot in a 22-game span.
Photos by OKC Thunder
WHO WANTS A T-SHIRT? EVERYBODY!
Contrary to popular legend, the love affair with Thunder fans and free T-shirts didn’t begin in the NBA Playoffs. No, it started in season one with The Oklahoman parachute drop and simple tosses from various Thunder entertainers and continued to build over the seasons, hitting its crescendo with the debut of the Balon Blaster in 2009.
At its peak, the promotion featured more than 300 white, cotton shirts landing in the laps and hands of fans each game by way of a toss, the parachute drop, an air cannon, sling shot and Balon Blaster, which is manned by Rumble and sprays 24 T-shirts into the stands per round.
Photo by Zach Beeker/OKC Thunder
Photos by OKC Thunder
A NEW CAR FOR YOU, YOU AND YOU!!
The Thunder has awarded some big prizes to fans over the years, but one on-court presentation stands above the others for its sheer magnitude: On April 7, 2009, Chesapeake Energy surprised three finalists by presenting each with a new energy-efficient car!
With an arena full of fans watching, the three finalists took their place on the court as three giant boxes were rolled on to the court, one of which was presumed to contain the lucky key. It wasn’t until the reveal that Chesapeake let on that it wasn’t crowning one winner that night.
Subsequent seasons would see promotion finalists win big prizes such as custom Thunder-themed Harley-Davidsons and golf carts, but three new cars in one night is tough to top.Photo by OKC Thunder
A COMMUNITY SHOW OF FORCE
Thunder Training Camp, presented by US Cellular, is an annual highlight to the fall sports scene in Oklahoma. It begins with media day, which offers the first look at the roster that has added new faces via the NBA Draft, trades or free agency. The showcase event of camp, at least from a fan’s perspective, is the annual Blue & White Scrimmage, which takes place in a high school gym and brings together an entire community for an afternoon of Thunder fun.Photo by OKC Thunder
FILLING MORE THAN A PANTRY
Since the beginning of the Thunder, Homeland and the team have worked together to help battle hunger one family at a time. The Homeland shopping sprees match a family that has been nominated for help with a Thunder player for a memorable afternoon of shopping to fill refrigerators and pantries with groceries and supplies. The outing includes plenty of laughs, hugs and “selfie” photos, too.Photo by Zach Beeker/OKC Thunder
CAUGHT ON CAM: FUN
The Oklahoma Lottery introduced its Victory Dance promotion this past season, offering $1,000 to the fan who displays his or her best dance moves during a stop in play. It joins a list of popular in-game promotions over the seasons that includes the Love’s KissCam, Super Cuts hair shuffle, Gold Gym Flex Cam, the MidFirst Bank Show Me the Money feature and more.Photo by Zach Beeker/OKC Thunder
THUNDER ALLEY: A LOVE’S AFFAIR
Love’s Thunder Alley is a popular pre-game destination for Thunder fans, young and old. In addition to a stage with live music, a beer garden, multiple inflatable stations for kids and interactive games for all, Love’s has enhanced the already-vibrant scene by occasionally placing its oil tanker and NASCAR race car in the mix as a backdrop for pictures.Photo by Jimmy Do/OKC Thunder