At a June 20 Greater Oklahoma City Chamber luncheon to tout local sports-themed economic development, Olympic gold-medal gymnast Bart Conner unveiled his most ambitious project to date: "The Ford Center NBC Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular."
The two-hour program will bring world-class athletes in both gymnastics and figure skating together in downtown Oklahoma City, with the event televised at least 100 times throughout 2008.
EXPOSURE FOR STATE
"We continue to bring national and international events to Oklahoma," Conner said. "The last events we did were about heads in beds, about room nights in Oklahoma City. This event is completely different: It's a two-hour national and international broadcast on NBC. This one is about exposure."
Slated for Oct. 14, according to Conner, the show will be part of a larger effort to gain legitimacy for OKC as an "Olympic-friendly" city and potential host city.
Tim Brassfield, executive director of the Oklahoma City All Sports Association, discussed the financial impact of drawing major sports tournaments to the city, such as:
" the 2008 Women's College World Series,
" the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Basketball Championships, and
" the first and second rounds of the 2010 NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Tournament.
Just a decade ago, Brassfield said, having just one of these tournaments would have amazed residents, but now there is at least one major tournament rolling into town every year.
"I think we've arrived when we have events like these and we just say, 'Oh, we have that again,'" he said. "Charles Martin