Oklahoma City Wants To Remain A Big League Town


The arena game in OKC is underway.

In the summer of 2008, Clayton Bennett moved his Seattle SuperSonics National Basketball Association franchise to Oklahoma City because there was a relatively new arena with revenue generating streams that were not available at the rebuilt Seattle arena. Now Bennett seemingly is looking for a new Oklahoma City arena and the city’s mayor is listening carefully. After all, Oklahoma City is a major league town but that could disappear overnight without a state-of-the-art, 21st century arena. “If your city wants water, you have to build lakes and water pipes. If your city wants police, it has to build police stations and buy police cars,” Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said. “If your city wants major league professional sports, it has to have the facilities. The infrastructure for professional sports is not optional if you want to have professional sports.”

Water is essential to life, a National Basketball Association franchise is not a life building block, it’s entertainment at best. The Oklahoma City facility is 20-years-old and was first used by an NBA team, the New Orleans Hornets, between 2005 and 2007 after Hurricane Katrina caused a tremendous amount of damage in the region and also to the New Orleans arena on August 29th, 2005. The NBA did well in the two years it used the Oklahoma City’s building and Bennett, who was from Oklahoma noticed. Bennett did not get a new Seattle arena and left the Pacific Northwest with two years remaining on his Seattle contract to use the arena after a deal was reached. Bennett’s Thunder franchise is committed to play in Oklahoma City through the 2025-2026 season. That means there is a short time to get a new deal for an arena done or Bennett can pursue other cities like Seattle, Las Vegas or Louisville as an alternative. It’s all about money.

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. (AP Photo/June Frantz Hunt)