WNBA Tulsa Franchise Narrows Team Name to Three; Fans to Make Final Choice

TULSA, Okla. (Nov. 29, 2009) -- The WNBA’s Tulsa franchise has narrowed its team name to three finalists, and is asking the fans to make the final choice.

The three names are the Tulsa Shock, Fire and Tempo. Fans are being asked to cast their votes at www.wnba.com/tulsa. The poll will be up until mid-December. The new name and logo will be announced in January, said Bill Cameron, one of the lead investors for the franchise.

The names were narrowed to three after owners and league officials considered dozens of possibilities. Cameron said several criteria come into play, including marketability and trademark availability.

“Each of these three are dynamic names that can be executed in a number of ways,” he said. “The in-game promotions, the slogans, the music – all of it will be completely unique to Tulsa’s WNBA team.”

The Shock is the name of team that is being relocated from Detroit to Tulsa. Though its roots are tied to Detroit’s auto industry and NBA team, the Pistons, the name has multiple connotations and uses. “Shock” also can mean a sudden or intense impact, and also a “shock of wheat,” highlighting Oklahoma agriculture.

One obvious advantage would be the brand equity, or name recognition, that the name already has. The team would not necessarily be tied to the same logo or colors as the Detroit Shock, Cameron said.

The name Fire represents a couple different things. First, it is drawn from Oklahoma sunsets, many of which are orange to red in color and look like fire in the sky. It can also refer to the basketball term “on fire.”

The Tempo refers to speed of this fast-paced sport and its athletes. In addition, it reflects The Tulsa Sound, a musical mixture of Rockabilly, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Country and Blues, which originated in Tulsa in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Cameron said fan input is welcome on the team’s Facebook page or Twitter account (www.twitter.com/wnbatulsa) and on the team’s official Web site, www.wnba.com/tulsa.

The team tips off its inaugural season in May 2010. The league’s schedule will be released in the coming months. Nolan Richardson, former coach at the University of Arkansas and University of Tulsa, will be the team’s first head coach. Interviews for front-office personnel are going on now.

For ticket information, call 1-877-90-HOOPS (46677), go to the WNBA Tulsa Web site or send an email to tickets@wnbatulsa.com.

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