“Thundering” Towards Economic Recovery
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Most economists say the economic impact of a professional team on a city is slim to none. But don’t tell that to the people of Oklahoma City, home of the NBA's Thunder. Relatively new to the city – they relocated there in 2008 - the Thunder are making their NBA finals debut, facing the Miami Heat for the 2012 NBA championship.
The Thunder’s run to the NBA finals has been a boon for many small businesses around Oklahoma. “The Thunder have boosted not just our business, but the entire state’s economy,” Jeff Stewart told the Huffington Post. “During last year’s run, business was up, but that was nothing compared to what’s going on right now.” Stewart manages O’Connell’s Pub, just 30 minutes from the Thunder’s Chesapeake Energy Arena. “It’s always slower at the beginning of the summer…it’s been a shot in the arm for us and the college bars around here” said Stewart.
Steve Boehler, who manages a sports apparel store near the stadium, expects business to boom through the NBA finals. "It just means great revenue for us," Boehler told his local TV station. "This year the Thunder just shot through the roof and our sales have gone crazy."
According to the U.S. Chamber's recent Enterprising States study, the Sooner State is a good place to do business - but not because it has a winning NBA franchise. Rather, it's because Oklahoma has the lowest cost of living in the nation and is the 5th best tax environment for startup firms, jumping 8 spots in the study since 2011. And last year, the legislature passed a series of aggressive reforms to improve the state’s legal environment for businesses.