Oklahoma City mayor unveils plan for $900M arena to keep NBA’s Thunder through 2050


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt unveiled a proposal Tuesday for a new $900 million downtown arena that would keep the NBA’s Thunder in the city through at least 2050 if approved by voters.

The plan released released by city officials calls for the continuation of a 1% sales tax for six years, $70 million from an existing sales tax approved by voters in 2019 for upgrades to the current arena, and a $50 million contribution from the Thunder ownership group. The deal calls for at least $900 million to be spent constructing the new arena.

According to a city press release, the proposal will be presented to the nine-member Oklahoma City Council on Sept. 26. A majority of the council would need to approve a call for a Dec. 12 citywide election, where voters would decide the plan’s fate.

If approved, Holt says the Thunder will play in the new arena for at least 25 years. The goal is for the new arena to open in time for the 2029-2030 NBA season.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of the deal is the length — this is twice the commitment we received in 2008 and will keep the Thunder here beyond 2050,” Holt said in a statement. “For a generation, we will retain the economic impact and quality-of-life benefits we have enjoyed as a big-league city.”

The NBA franchise moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 from Seattle.

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