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Oklahoma’s largest megaphone

Oklahoma’s largest megaphone

When the May 20, 2013, F5 tornado tore across Moore, killing 24, the Thunder team had only been in Oklahoma for a handful of years. In the days following, the team put forward both its mega following and its money to help the residents of Moore. Byrnes said the tragedy helped the team learn lessons that guide their decisions and their need to impact Oklahoma City for the good still today. 

“We learned a lot in that tornado in Moore,” he said. “And what we learned more than anything was that we had a voice. That’s what really developed in that moment was that we mobilized our people and our resources. We saw we have the reach. And I don’t know that we fully saw ourselves like that, in that moment. Now we’re 10 years removed, and we’ve learned a lot. And I think a lot of what we’re doing in the present day is informed from those experiences.” 

The Thunder is Oklahoma’s largest amplifier for brand awareness and communication without close competition. As a part of the NBA family, the Thunder provides national and global reach for brands looking for that level of impact through partnerships like branded jersey patches, naming rights and on-court TV-visible branding and more. And then there is social media: The Thunder’s extensive reach tracks 20 million-plus people across all platforms, which is among the highest social media followings in professional sports.

When the Thunder says something, a lot of people hear it. 

“We position ourselves as the state’s megaphone,” Syring said. “And entities lean on us to help them tell their stories. We constantly hear from partners that if an event is ‘Thunder-ized,’ it will get a lot more attention than one that’s not. And so, we tend to lead with the community investment in the community storytelling, because that’s our bread and butter. And it tells stories for our partners, and it helps solve real problems and real issues in the state. And that’s what we’re here to do.”

This responsibility of carrying around Oklahoma’s largest megaphone isn’t taken lightly either, Byrnes said. A commitment to community leadership is baked into every level of the organization.

It’s in our mission statement, as an organization, to build, enhance and sustain a professional organization and to provide meaningful community leadership,” Byrnes said. “So this is not something that we just, you know, delegate to an internal group. We try to make sure that we’re doing it with authenticity. There’s a purpose behind it. It drives the brand and drives our organizational culture.” 

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