Thunder Plans Transition to New Arena Naming Rights Partner
OKLAHOMA CITY, April 20, 2021- The Oklahoma City Thunder is in the process of working to secure a new naming rights partner for Chesapeake Energy Arena, the team announced today. Chesapeake Energy Corporation has informed the Thunder that as part of its recently completed restructuring, it is terminating its arena naming rights agreement with the team, effective immediately. The original 12-year agreement was announced in 2011. The Thunder is now focused on identifying a new long-term naming rights partner. In the interim, the building will continue to be called Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“As we move toward a transition to a new naming rights partner for our arena, we would like to recognize our extraordinary history with Chesapeake Energy,” said Clayton I. Bennett, chairman of the Oklahoma City Thunder. “For a decade, the arena has proudly bore its name and we thank Chesapeake, one of our founding partners, for its loyal support and partnership.
“As Chesapeake Energy Arena, our building has been home to so many exciting and historic moments and events. As we look to forge a new partnership for naming rights, we will identify a partner who will help build on that history and be the centerpiece of our growing, modern and vibrant downtown environment,” Bennett said.
“We have greatly appreciated our long-standing partnership with the Thunder, and while our commitment to restoring our balance sheet and increasing our competitiveness required us to terminate our naming rights agreement, as proud Oklahomans, we will continue to strongly support the team,” said Doug Lawler, CEO of Chesapeake Energy.
“While we advance toward a future of full events and games inside our arena, we are excited at the possibilities ahead to align with a new partner to be a significant component of that growth and join the Thunder to continue to bring awareness of our city and state to the NBA global audience,” said Will Syring, vice president of Corporate Partnerships for the Thunder. “This is more than just a name on a building, it’s a partnership built on common principles of leadership, forward-thinking vision and community impact.”
In addition to Thunder games, the arena hosts numerous concerts, sporting and other world-class events welcoming more than one million guests per year. Opened in 2002, it is managed by ASM Global and owned by the City of Oklahoma City. The building was the premier project of Oklahoma City’s first capital improvement program (MAPS) passed in 1993 and has modernized with continued citizen support via additional MAPS funding. A new series of building improvements is coming over the next few years following the successful passage of MAPS 4 in 2019. Located in the center of downtown Oklahoma City, the arena stands as a centerpiece of the renaissance and future of downtown, amidst other MAPS projects like Scissortail Park and the new Oklahoma City Convention Center, along with the Omni Hotel.