Oklahoma City to Welcome New Downtown Arena for the Thunder

Oklahoma City has set the stage for a dramatic change in its sports and entertainment landscape

by Faruk Imamovic
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Oklahoma City to Welcome New Downtown Arena for the Thunder
© Getty Images Sport/Chris Graythen

Oklahoma City has set the stage for a dramatic change in its sports and entertainment landscape. The city unveiled plans on Tuesday to construct a state-of-the-art downtown arena to serve as the new home for the Thunder, its cherished NBA franchise.

Investing in the City's Sports Future

The arena's projected cost is expected to reach or exceed $900 million. To help finance this ambitious project, the Thunder's ownership has pledged a generous contribution of $50 million.

In a news release, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt expressed the city's dual ambitions that guided the arena's planning: to retain the Thunder for an extended period and to avoid placing additional tax burdens on residents. "The people of Oklahoma City have overwhelmingly expressed to me two desires -- (1) keep the Thunder for as long as possible, and (2) don't raise taxes if it can be avoided.

With this plan in place, we’ve accomplished both," Mayor Holt said. A Commitment to Last Generations One of the crowning features of this deal is its duration. As Mayor Holt pointed out, the current agreement is double the length of the commitment the city received from the Thunder in 2008.

This would ensure that the Thunder remains a vital part of Oklahoma City well past 2050. "My children will be my age when this agreement ends," Holt remarked. "For a generation, we will retain the economic impact and quality-of-life benefits we have enjoyed as a big-league City.

It's an investment that pays for itself many times over." According to a study mentioned in the city's news release, the Thunder's presence has an estimated annual economic footprint of $600 million, spurring the creation of approximately 3,000 jobs.

Since 2008, when the Thunder moved to Oklahoma City, they've competed at the Paycom Center. Although their long-standing agreement with the city expired earlier this year, they opted for a short-term extension while collaborating on the arena's planning process.

Anticipation is building, with aspirations for the new arena to welcome fans and players alike by the 2029-30 NBA season, as reported by ESPN.

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