New members of Sonics ownership group announced

Sunday, October 15th 2006, 12:23 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The ownership group that is buying the Seattle SuperSonics announced Sunday that four more Oklahoma City businessmen are joining the group as additional investors.

The new members are William M. Cameron, president and CEO of Oklahoma City-based American Fidelity Assurance Co.; Bob Howard, president of Mercedes Benz of Oklahoma City; Everett Dobson, executive chairman of Oklahoma City-based Dobson Communications Corp.; and Jay Scaramucci, president of Oklahoma City-based Balon Corp.

``This is a dynamic group of accomplished business people,'' Clayton I. Bennett, chairman and managing partner of Professional Basketball Club LLC, said in a statement. ``They bring business insight from a variety of demanding market categories including finance, banking, real estate, insurance, automotive, telecommunications, energy and investment management.''

Bennett's group announced in July it would buy the Sonics and WNBA Storm for $350 million. The sale is subject to league approval and is expected to be addressed at the NBA Board of Governors meeting on Oct. 24.

The original partners in the group are Bennett, president of investment firm Dorchester Capital; Aubrey K. McClendon, chairman and CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp.; G. Jeffrey Records Jr., president and CEO of MidFirst Bank; and Tom L. Ward, chairman and CEO of SandRidge Energy Inc. All four companies are based in Oklahoma City.

The group was initially formed in February and set out to find an NBA team for Oklahoma City. However, Bennett has said the new owners intend to keep the teams in Seattle, provided a new arena deal can be reached within a 12-month deadline.

``We will enhance the tradition of the Seattle Sonics and are completely committed to keeping the Sonics and Storm in the Seattle area,'' Bennett said in the statement. ``The business experience and expertise of this ownership group will be invaluable in securing a world-class arena for the area and building one of the league's premier franchises.''

The original investors last year helped Oklahoma City fund a $10 million revenue guarantee to the New Orleans Hornets as they temporarily relocated to the city following Hurricane Katrina.