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June 22nd, 2010 - Dean Anderson

Experts say the economic impact of OKC Thunder is substantial



The Thunder have an economic impact of approximately $60-80 million.

Thunder-225Eric Maynor. Photo/Shannon Cornman
If there was ever any doubt that Oklahoma City was caught up in Thunder fever this season, all one had to do was look up in May.

The flagpole at the corner of Oklahoma and Sheridan avenues, which has always flown the U.S. flag proudly, masted a 60-by-40-foot Oklahoma City Thunder banner during the franchise's first playoff series. Former Bricktown Association President Jim Cowan swears it was simply a matter of a new U.S. flag on backorder to replace the tattered and torn one that had been removed, but the symbolism was poignant.

"We know patriotism trumps playoff basketball," Cowan says.

Maybe.

Nothing this year could overshadow the Thunder's grip on Oklahoma City in terms of excitement, enthusiasm and
 
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