HomeIn PrintShould Oklahoma City build a new arena for the Thunder?

Should Oklahoma City build a new arena for the Thunder?

Three Oklahoma City leaders weigh in on the possible benefits and negatives associated with Oklahoma City taxpayers funding the construction of a new arena to replace the nearly 25-year-old Paycom Center. 

Mick Cornett
Former Oklahoma City mayor

“Yes. That’s assuming a new arena would guarantee a new long-term lease with the NBA. I would think we should plan on having a new arena in place by 2027. Our current arena would be 25 years old by that time. It is somewhat similar to the Softball World Series. The NCAA agreed to give us a 25-year commitment so we put in the capital investment to expand that facility. Venues are critical to the success of sports franchises—especially small markets like Oklahoma City. I think we should identify a funding source for a new arena as soon as possible.”

Sean Cummings
Irish Pub owner, former Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair

“A new arena would be easier to sell to the public if the Thunder were doing better. Here is a radical idea. How about we share half the season with Tulsa? They have a brand-new stadium. The BOK Arena. Would make for a much bigger fan base. We could put some money into the arena we have now. Make it a little bit better. But in all honesty, how much more can we ask of the citizens that can’t even afford to go to a game. The same citizens (who) can’t even watch it on TV because (they) have two or three jobs. Precedent was set with the Kansas City-Omaha Kings. It can be done if it would be the best way to share both the burden and the resources of having an NBA team.”

Chris Kana
Killer Squid Hospitality Founder and Operating Partner

“I am pro new arena even if that means taxpayers have to foot some of the bill for it. The economic impact of having a new arena far outweighs cons in my opinion. The sporting events and concerts will continue to boost tax dollars and tourism in OKC. But I do believe ownership should meet the city halfway. They need to have some skin in the game as well.”

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