The Norman Transcript

August 16, 2013

Thunder will play preseason games to international audience

By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma City’s NBA success will be determined on the court, when the Thunder begin a new regular season in about 10 weeks. And still, the success the Thunder have in bringing attention to the city they represent might actually be better understood through the franchise’s preseason schedule, which was announced Wednesday.

Oklahoma City will play seven preseason games, the last five of which are against other NBA opponents — Denver, New Orleans, Utah, Phoenix and Chicago —primarily in NBA arenas (three of five).

But the first two games of the Thunder’s preseason slate are a testament to the international impact of the team.

On Oct. 5, Oklahoma City opens its preseason schedule against Fenerbahce Ulker at 7 a.m. Central Standard Time, in Istanbul, Turkey.

Fenerbahce Ulker will be playing on its home court. Fenerbahce Ulker’s name is derivative of the Fenerbahce multi-sports club, which claims teams in several other sports, from track and field to boxing to soccer and men’s and women’s volleyball. And, it is located in Istanbul.

Three days later, Oct. 8, at 2 p.m. Oklahoma time, the Thunder will meet the Phildelphia 76ers on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in Manchester, England.

A long way away from Oklahoma City, the city will thrust into the consciousness of citizens of other nations.

Both international contests will be broadcast live on NBA TV.

After those games, the schedule becomes conventional: against Denver in Oklahoma City on Oct. 15; against New Orleans in Tulsa on Oct, 17; against Utah in Oklahoma City on Oct. 20; at Phoenix on Oct. 22; and against Chicago, in Wichita, Kan., on Oct. 23.

The regular season begins Oct. 30 at Utah.

Clay Horning

Follow me @clayhorning