SBD/July 22, 2011/Facilities

Chesapeake Energy Secures Naming Rights To Thunder Arena In 12-Year Deal

Naming-rights deal includes Chesapeake branding throughout the building
Chesapeake Energy Arena will be the “new name of Oklahoma City’s downtown arena, formerly known as the Ford Center,” according to Randy Ellis of the DAILY OKLAHOMAN. Under the 12-year naming rights deal, Chesapeake, one of the Thunder’s “five founding partners,” will pay the team $3M the “first year, with a 3 percent annual escalation clause for each year, thereafter.” The Thunder “received the rights to most proceeds from the naming rights agreement under the deal it reached with the city to bring the NBA team to Oklahoma City from Seattle.” The city “will continue to receive $409,000 a year plus an escalator amount tied to the Consumer Price Index.” The amount the city receives is “based on its original naming rights contract with Oklahoma Ford Dealers before an NBA team arrived in Oklahoma City.” Ellis notes the deal “includes Chesapeake branding throughout the building including on the basketball court, prominent premium placement on the high-definition scoreboard and new state-of-the-art interior and exterior digital signage.” Most of the signage is “expected to be in place by the start of the Thunder’s 2011-12 season.” Horrow Sports Ventures CEO Rick Horrow said he believes the deal is “imminently fair” and a “win-win for all concerned.” Chesapeake Energy is based in Oklahoma City, and Horrow said the deal "provides another showcasing opportunity of a homegrown company that is now evolving into a national and international corporate sponsor” (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 7/22). Thunder investor Aubrey McClendon also serves as Chesapeake Energy CEO (THE DAILY).
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