Oklahoma City voters to decide on funding for new Thunder arena
By a vote of 7 to 2, the Oklahoma City Council approved a letter of intent with the Oklahoma City Thunder to construct a new downtown arena using taxpayer funds. The issue now goes before voters in a special election on Dec. 12.
Mayor David Holt’s proposal for the new arena promises to keep the Thunder in Oklahoma City for another 25 years. The team’s current long-term agreement ended earlier this year, but they’ve agreed to stay if a new arena is built.
An OK Progress Now-funded campaign called buyyourownarena.com is asking the owners of the Thunder to pay for the new arena.
At a city hall press conference, the organization's communications director Nick Singer said the proposal is an unfair bargain for taxpayers.
“We need to demand a better deal. We need to ask the owners of the Thunder, who are fantastically wealthy, deep ties to Oklahoma, generational businesses here, to pay their fair share and buy their own arena,” Singer said.
The new arena would cost at least $900 million to build, with $70 million planned to come from MAPS 4 funds and $50 million from the owners of the team. The remaining funds would come from a 72-month one-cent sales tax.