New Thunder arena plan is in: $900M cost, $50M from Thunder, up to voters on Dec. 12

New Thunder arena plan is in: $900M cost, $50M from Thunder, up to voters on Dec. 12

The Thunder pledges the team will play in the new arena for 25 years if Oklahoma City voters approve the plan.

Mike Koehler

By Mike Koehler

| Sep 12, 2023, 3:25pm CDT

Mike Koehler

By Mike Koehler

Sep 12, 2023, 3:25pm CDT

After 14 months of discussions and collaboration between Oklahoma City leaders and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Mayor David Holt announced a comprehensive plan to construct a new downtown arena on Tuesday.

The new arena project, estimated at a minimum cost of $900 million, will be primarily funded through a temporary one-cent sales tax, MAPS 4 funds, and a $50 million contribution from the Thunder’s ownership.

The goal is to have the arena ready for the 2029-2030 NBA season or sooner.

Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett has signed a letter of intent, pledging the team’s presence in the new arena for 25 years if the December vote succeeds and necessary legal documents are finalized. The Thunder have called Oklahoma City home since 2008.

The plan hinges on the approval of Oklahoma City voters in a Dec. 12 election for a temporary one-cent sales tax. This tax, set to start after the completion of MAPS 4, will not increase the city’s current sales tax rate.

Mayor Holt and City Manager Craig Freeman will present the plan formally to the City Council on Sept. 26, with a simple majority of both the Council and voters required for passage.

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Mike Koehler is the founder of Sellout Crowd. Mike spent more than 15 years in journalism before starting Smirk New Media, a digital marketing agency, in 2010. Mike is a graduate of Missouri State University and lives in Oklahoma City with his wife Gaylee and three kids. Mike can be found on social media at @mkokc on Twitter and most everything else.

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