The Oklahoma City Thunder and Fox Sports Networks today announced that they have reached a multi-year agreement providing Fox with the regional television rights to Thunder Basketball. The announcement was made by Thunder Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Ken Adelson and Fox Sports Southwest Senior Vice President/General Manager Jon Heidtke.
In addition, Fox announced that its regional sports network currently serving the Oklahoma market (FSN Southwest, COX Ch 37 on basic cable in OKC) will be re-launched as “Fox Sports Oklahoma” in October to coincide with the start of the Thunder’s first season in Oklahoma City. The new network is an effort by Fox to more closely reflect the interests of the Oklahoma market and to strengthen its connection with local sports fans. Also, to emphasize the new TV partnership with Fox Sports, game broadcasts will be branded “FS Thunder” in its on-screen graphics.
During the 2008-09 season Fox Sports Oklahoma will carry 65 Thunder games. The rest of the Thunder schedule will be broadcast on a still-to-be named local partner. “Our fans will be able to watch every Thunder Basketball game on television, home and away,” Adelson said. The full season television schedule will be released in coming days.
This new partnership between Fox and the Thunder was forged to ensure that Thunder games would be widely available to fans throughout Oklahoma. Fox Sports Oklahoma will reach more than one million cable and satellite television homes throughout every TV market in Oklahoma.
“Fox Sports is the leader in regional sports television and we are proud and excited to partner with them,” Adelson said. “They are innovative, creative and offer state of the art production techniques. We have attained our goal of offering our fans a high quality, exciting, easily accessible TV broadcast.”
More than half of the Thunder games on Fox Sports Oklahoma will be in HD (high-definition) during the 2008-09 season, with additional HD broadcasts scheduled for the following season. For the Thunder broadcasts, Brian Davis is the play-by-play announcer and 14-year NBA veteran player Grant Long serves as Thunder analyst.
“This is an exciting time for Oklahoma sports fans and we’re thrilled to be on the ground floor as the Thunder’s new television partner,” Heidtke said. “We look forward to showcasing their games and helping to grow the team’s fan base throughout the state. We’re committed to building Fox Sports Oklahoma into the premier destination for local sports programming.”
Fox Sports Oklahoma will also offer additional Thunder programming such as THUNDER LIVE pre- and post-game shows and a weekly magazine show. In addition to Thunder telecasts, Fox Sports Oklahoma will offer a strong lineup of local sports programming, including select University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State football, basketball, and Olympic sports events, local coaches shows, and high school events beginning this year from the Oklahoma Secondary School Athletics Association. Fox Sports Oklahoma will also feature original programming and specials, such as In My Own Words, Under the Lights, and Spotlight, highlighting local athletes, coaches, and teams. Fox Sports Oklahoma will become the 17th regional sports network in the Fox Sports Networks family.