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Clayton Bennett
Born Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Nationality American
Occupation Chairman, Dorchester Capital
Chairman, Professional Basketball Club LLC
Salary US$
Spouse(s) Louise Gaylord Bennett

Clayton "Clay" Ike[1] Bennett (born 1960)[1] is an American businessman and chairman of the Professional Basketball Club LLC, the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA franchise that was formerly the Seattle SuperSonics. Bennett is the chairman of Oklahoma City-based Dorchester Capital Corporation, as well as the chairman emeritus of the board of directors of the Oklahoma Heritage Association.

Contents

Early business career highlights

Bennett was one of the principal owners of the San Antonio Spurs in the mid-1990s, where one of his primary duties was to represent the team on the NBA Board of Governors. Immediately prior to the 2005-06 NBA season, Bennett, along with Aubrey McClendon of Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Tom L. Ward of Oklahoma City-based SandRidge Energy Corporation, and G. Jeffrey Records Jr. of Oklahoma City based MidFirst Bank, partnered with the City of Oklahoma City and the State of Oklahoma in providing a revenue guarantee for the NBA's New Orleans Hornets. This resulted in the relocation of the Hornets to Oklahoma City for two seasons. The temporary relocation to Oklahoma City stemmed from damage to the arena and infrastructure in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Owner of the Oklahoma City NBA franchise

Bennett is the chairman of the Oklahoma City-based Professional Basketball Club LLC (PBC), which owns the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder. The team was purchased from Howard Schultz in 2006 for approximately $350 million. At the time, the team was known as the Seattle SuperSonics. After failing to get half a billion dollars in public funding for building a new suburban arena for the team,[2] Bennett notified the NBA on November 2, 2007 of the ownership group's intent to move the team to Oklahoma City.[3][4][5] On March 21, 2008, Bennett proposed a plan that would allow the basketball franchise to be relocated without the franchise retaining rights to the team name, logo, colors, and history.[6] On April 18, 2008, the NBA owners gave approval for moving the franchise for the 2008–2009 season from Seattle pending the outcome of the city's case to uphold the lease and the former ownership group's lawsuit to rescind the purchase.[7] On July 2, 2008, Bennett's ownership group reached a settlement agreement in the lawsuit filed by the City of Seattle, thus allowing the move of the franchise from Seattle to Oklahoma City.[8]

Personal life

Bennett is married to Louise Gaylord Bennett, the daughter of Oklahoma City media mogul Edward L. Gaylord. Bennett and Louise Gaylord were high school sweethearts, meeting when he was a sophomore and she was a freshman. Bennett's in-laws also have ties to professional sports ownership, as the Gaylords once owned a minority share of the Texas Rangers—a share which was later sold to future Republican President George W. Bush. Bennett, himself, is also a "staunch" Republican.[9]

References

  1. ^ a b "Unwanted attention: The man who will take over the SuperSonics franchise reluctantly puts himself in the spotlight". The News Tribune. http://dwb.thenewstribune.com/sports/sonics/story/6134030p-5370924c.html. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  2. ^ "Sonics present plans for new arena" (in English). seattlepi.com. 2007-01-19. http://www.seattlepi.com/local/300387_sonics19.html. Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  3. ^ "Sonics tell NBA of intent to move SuperSonics to Oklahoma City". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3091416. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  4. ^ "Bennett: Seattle arena costs projected around $500 million". The Oklahoman. http://newsok.com/article/3001175. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  5. ^ "An interview with Clay Bennett, owner of Sonics". Seattle Times. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/2003714508_soni20.html. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  6. ^ "Sonics owners willing to leave behind team name if franchise moves". The Seattle Times. http://www.nwcn.com/sports/stories/NW_032508SSB_bennett_to_leave_name_JG.24f184ad.html. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  7. ^ "NBA owners approve Sonics' move, pending litigation". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3353270. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  8. ^ "Sonics, city reach settlement". The Seattle Times. 2008-07-02. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008030229_sonitrial02.html. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  9. ^ "Sonics' owner hopes to have arena plan by year's end". CBSSports.com. http://cbs.sportsline.com/print/nba/story/9837392. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 

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