‣ The Oklahoma City Council voted to set a Dec. 12 citywide vote on a proposed 1% sales tax for six years to fund a new $900 million arena for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
‣ The Thunder’s ownership group, including Clay Bennett, will contribute $50 million (approximately 5.5%) towards the arena’s cost.
‣ The new arena is expected to open in time for the 2029-30 NBA season.
Press release from the City of Oklahoma City on the City Council voting today:
— Rylan Stiles (@Rylan_Stiles)
The Oklahoma City Council recently voted in favor of a citywide vote to implement a 1% sales tax for six years, with the goal of funding a new NBA arena. The estimated cost of the arena is set at a minimum of $900 million, and the council approved a letter of intent with the Thunder’s ownership group to contribute $50 million towards the project. The ownership group consists of seven members, including chairman Clay Bennett.
In a statement, Clay Bennett expressed his excitement for the opportunity to continue transforming Oklahoma City and reinforcing its status as a major city. He emphasized the importance of the new arena in securing the long-term future of the Thunder. The city council’s decision to proceed with the December 15 vote on the proposed sales tax is a significant step towards achieving this goal.
The deal also includes $70 million in city funds from a previous sales tax that was approved in 2019. These funds will be used for upgrades to the current Paycom Center, the Thunder’s current arena. Mayor David Holt praised the council’s decision and the partnership with the Thunder, believing it to be a historic milestone for Oklahoma City.
While the details regarding the location of the new arena are still unknown, the plan is for it to open in time for the 2029-30 NBA season. However, not everyone is on board with the proposed plan. Council members Nikki Nice and JoBeth Hamon expressed their opposition to the sales tax and the letter of intent with the Thunder owners.
The $50 million contribution from the Thunder’s ownership group will only cover the minimum construction cost, and the seating capacity of the new arena is yet to be determined. The current Paycom Center has a maximum seating capacity of 18,203 and has been the Thunder’s home since the 2008-09 season. As the city moves forward with its plans for a new arena, basketball fans and the community eagerly await the outcome of the upcoming vote and the future of the Thunder in Oklahoma City.