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Thunder in search of arena sponsor following Chesapeake Energy terminating naming rights deal

The Chesapeake Energy Arena has been the proud arena-sponsor of the Oklahoma City Thunder since 2010, but now, eleven years later — that partnership is gone.

As first reported by ESPN Insider Royce Young, Chesapeake Energy has terminated their 12-year, $34 million contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, effective immediately.

This move comes nine months after Chesapeake Energy filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, resulting in the group equitizing over $7.8 billion in debt and laying off 220 Oklahoma City workers (15-percent of workforce) this February, just to get their head back over water. Point being — Chesapeake Energy was in a financial crises, and with that, name rights fell off the priority list.

“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.”

Doug Lawler, CEO of Chesapeake Energy

Thunder chairman Clay Bennett commended Chesapeake Energy’s involvement as “one of our [the organizations] founding partners,” marking their 11-year history as “extraordinary.”

With Chesapeake Energy stepping out from their naming rights position, the Oklahoma City Thunder will continue to play in the “Chesapeake Energy Arena” until an agreement is struck with a prospective suitor.

“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.”

Clay Bennett, chairman of Oklahoma City Thunder

Since inking rights with the Thunder, the Chesapeake Energy Arena has been renowned for its sellout crowds and near “college atmosphere” that sent opposing teams into a daze. As the Thunder gears up to invite fans back for the 2021-22 season, it is uncertain as to what moniker Oklahoma City’s arena will be tagged, but one thing is for sure — Loud City will be back in full-swing.

As the Thunder’s news has circulated, fans over social media have been quick to advocate for companies like Velveeta (who signaled immediate interest via Twitter,) Sonic, and in a very slight minority — Loves to acquire naming rights.

Under the arena’s inevitable name change, the Thunder will be introducing a third home-title since arriving in 2008, joining the Ford Center (2008-2010) and Chesapeake Energy Arena (2010-2021) as it’s prior keepsakes.

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