The team’s present home is 21-years old.
The mayor of Oklahoma City, David Holt, thinks the time has come to negotiate a deal with the owners of the National Basketball Association’s Oklahoma City Thunder franchise with the goal of building a new Thunder arena. Holt recently did a chat in conjunction with The Oklahoman newspaper and stressed that the city needs to start the mechanism to get a 21st century state-of-the-art arena built to replace the present arena that opened 21 years ago. Holt said, “this is really the issue of 2023, at least from a mayor’s perspective, because this will require my personal negotiation and advocacy as we work towards a proposal for the community to consider that will preserve a long-term relationship with major league professional sports.”
Holt is of the belief that the NBA franchise is important to the city even though most of the arena jobs are near minimum wage level or per diem employment. Nonetheless Thunder basketball games give Oklahoma City an identity. Holt claims the city has the money to build a venue although he did not put a cost on construction. The negotiations between the Thunder ownership and the city have not really started about the terms of an arena lease. But if you want to be in the major leagues you have to spend money and Holt is aware of this. “The Thunder have changed the way we look at ourselves and the way the world sees us. We simply can’t take a step backward. But cities who want to retain their status as top tier American cities have obligations. Love it or hate it, it’s reality. There’s no way around it, especially in a market our size. And as one of the three smallest markets in the league, we have to do more, not less, to hold our place.” Holt is ready to give away the store for an NBA franchise.
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