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Oklahoma City announces plan to fund new arena, commitment to keep Thunder through 2050


Mayor David Holt announced Tuesday the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to play their home games in the city for another 25 years if voters approve funding for a new arena.

The team’s current long-term agreement ended earlier this year, but they agreed to a short-term extension that will expire in less than three years.

Holt and City Manager Craig Freeman will formally present the plan to the city council on Sept. 26. If a majority approves to call for an election, the issue will go before Oklahoma City voters on Dec. 12.

The arena will cost a minimum of $900 million and will be funded in part by a 72-month one-cent sales tax starting after the current MAPS 4 one-cent sales tax ends. The tax extension will effectively cause no new increase in taxes.

Additionally, $70 million in MAPS 4 funds and $50 million from the owners of the Oklahoma City Thunder will go toward the new arena.

The Thunder will continue playing at Paycom Arena while the new arena is designed and constructed.

In a statement, Holt said two priorities were accomplished with the plan — a long-term commitment from the Thunder and no additional taxes for residents.

"It is truly a win-win for all of us," Holt said. "For a generation, we will retain the economic impact and quality-of-life benefits we have enjoyed as a big-league City. It is an investment that pays for itself many times over."

Hannah France is a reporter and producer for KGOU.
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