Community leaders and investors consider WNBA for Tulsa
A group of businessmen, businesswomen and community leaders from Tulsa and Oklahoma City last week reported progress and expressed confidence in their efforts to bring a professional Women’s National Basketball Association franchise to Tulsa. Their goal is to begin playing home games at the BOK Center in June 2010.
“To say this is exciting is an understatement,” said Bill Cameron, who is spearheading the effort with business partner David Box. “Momentum is building. The WNBA is behind us, and city and business leaders are lining up to lend their support.
“David and I have spent several months researching and analyzing the feasibility of having a WNBA franchise in Tulsa. We like what we’ve seen. That’s why we have both made significant investments in this endeavor. In addition, we plan to conduct a private placement offering in the near future to raise additional capital from Tulsa investors. Thus far, we have received commitments from Sam and Rita Combs, Pat Chernicky, Don and Pat Hardin, Paula Marshall, and Stuart and Linda Price.
“We still have work to do,” he continued. “We are currently in negotiations with SMG regarding playing at the BOK Center. With the community’s support, we will be in a good position to complete the deal by this fall and tip off in June 2010.”
Cameron is a member of the investment group that owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is also chairman and CEO of American Fidelity Assurance Co., and chairman of First Fidelity Bank.
Box is president and CEO of Box Ventures. His company produces and promotes concerts around the country, has various real estate interests, owns the Greens Country Club in Oklahoma City, and consults with business and venture capital groups.
Mayor Kathy Taylor, the Tulsa Metro Chamber and many other community leaders have endorsed the project. Taylor called it “an extraordinary opportunity” for the city.
“This is absolutely great news for Tulsa,” Taylor said. “It’s the latest in a series of events that are re-energizing downtown and the entire Tulsa region. Better yet, with regular exposure on ESPN and ABC, this puts Tulsa on a national stage with other great cities across America, like New York, L.A. and Chicago. We look forward to the day when these amazing women bring their talent and commitment to our community.”
The WNBA’s emphasis on community outreach, being role models and providing high-quality, family entertainment were the major factors in Cameron’s and Box’s decision to invest in and seek the franchise, Box said. The business side, which he expects will initially break even, was secondary.
“Everyone will have their own personal reasons for bringing this franchise to Tulsa,” Box said. “But the one thing we all agree on is that first and foremost, this will be good for Tulsa, and good for Oklahoma.”
Box emphasized the WNBA’s affiliation with the NBA, saying the league comes with the resources, personnel and branding behind the NBA.
“If you’ve been to an NBA game or followed the sport at all, you’ve seen the marketing machine at work,” he said. “The same organization is behind the WNBA. It’s world-class sports and entertainment.”
The WNBA, now in its 13th season, falls under the NBA umbrella. It has 13 teams across the country. Tulsa would be the smallest city in the U.S. with a franchise.
Cameron said it’s too early to speculate on whether Tulsa would be an expansion team or if an existing team would relocate to Tulsa. Regardless, he said, Tulsans would be assured of seeing the best women’s basketball players in the world.
“There are only 141 players in the WNBA,” Cameron said. “That means virtually every player in the league was the equivalent of a first-team All American. These are major-league, world renowned athletes,” he said.
The athletes are extremely active in their communities, serving as role models for women, youth and minorities in particular. For Chernicky, that was one of the strongest appeals. She and other investors attended the New York Liberty’s season opener at Madison Square Garden in May.
“I’m doing this as an investment in the future of downtown, and all of Tulsa,” Chernicky said. “The athleticism and entertainment aspects of the WNBA are incredible. But it’s their commitment to their communities that sold me on the league. I can assure you, it’s something special.”
For more information about the effort to secure a franchise, go to www.wnbatulsa.com.
Regional partners to outline 2010 OneVoice agenda
After celebrating one of the most successful legislative sessions for the Tulsa region, the Chamber and it’s regional partners are looking ahead to the 2010 political season with the organization of next year’s OneVoice legislative agenda.
The unified agenda, which will be advocated to elected officials on behalf of the Tulsa region, will include top priorities agreed upon by regional representatives. To determine the top issues, task forces have been organized in several key areas including education, health care, business attraction and expansion, transportation and energy.
“With the demonstrated success of the OneVoice Legislative Agenda, we are focusing even more attention on the planning and execution of advocacy efforts for legislation that will benefit the entire Tulsa region,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Chamber.
By summer’s end, the task forces, averaging 8-12 members, will have held numerous meetings to discuss what issues are top of mind in their respective areas and how they affect the Tulsa region. Each task force created a list of top priorities, which will be reviewed at the Regional Legislative Summit on Thursday, Aug. 20, and ultimately be used to create the OneVoice agenda.
Once the OneVoice agenda is drafted and approved, it will be used throughout the 2010 legislative session both in Oklahoma and Washington to present a unified front on behalf of northeast Oklahoma. The agenda will be available on the Chamber’s Web site.
OCAST offers funding, application training
The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology will offer special training sessions in Tulsa for individuals and businesses interested in applying for the Research and Development (R&D) Faculty and Student Intern Partnership Program or the Oklahoma Applied Research Support Program (OARS).
The R&D program is available to undergraduate students in Oklahoma, private industry firms who need to hire student interns, faculty who teach undergrads and Oklahoma’s applied research R&D facilities. The R&D preparation workshop is scheduled for Thursday, July 30. For information on the program, available funding and the application process, click here.
The OARS program assists universities, foundations and businesses in funding cutting-edge research to benefit Oklahoma’s economy. OCAST will host an application training session in Tulsa on Tuesday, Aug. 11. For information about the OARS program, funding and the workshop, click here.
When is the best time to cold call?
For many salespeople, it’s a necessary evil — the cold call. A recent study suggests that cold-calling success may depend less on sales skills than on how soon you follow up on a lead and the time that you make calls.
Dr. James Oldroyd from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University recently examined the electronic logs of more than 1 million cold calls made by thousands of sales professionals inside approximately 50 companies. The results indicate that Thursday is by far the best day to contact a lead, while Friday is the worst day. The best times to call to qualify a lead are from 8-9 a.m. and from 4-5 p.m. In fact, 8-9 a.m. is 164 percent better than calling right after lunch.
How about lead follow-up? Conventional wisdom also says that you’ve got anywhere from a few days to a week to follow up on a lead sent from your Web site. Not so. The study reveals that in B2B selling environments, the best odds of qualifying a lead happen within 20 minutes after interest is shown. Best case, you should call within five minutes, which is 21 times more likely to result in a qualified prospect than waiting an entire half hour.
However, some industries such as financial services and health care can tolerate longer responses. Oldroyd recommends that companies measure and analyze sales data to see what’s working and what’s not.
Source: Selling Power, July/August 2009
Chamber welcomes new businessesEach month the Tulsa Metro Chamber's Hospitality Club welcomes new businesses and new Chamber members to the community by assisting with ribbon cuttings and groundbreaking announcements.
Murray Thibodeaux, General Manager