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Thunder secures naming rights deal for arena, announcement yet to be made

Since late April, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been in search of a new name for the Chesapeake Energy Arena. As of this week, it has been made known that the organization has come to an arena agreement, but the unveiling of the said group will be anonymous for now.

As first relayed by The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City’s special projects manager Sue Hollenbeck helped confirm the status of the arena’s future moniker.

“They have someone in mind, but they can’t make it public until the application is approved,” Hollenbeck noted.

Hollenbeck’s statements came as a direct result of the recent removal of Chesapeake Energy Arena signage set around the arena’s exterior.

The city of Oklahoma City pays for the expenses of the arena. But a special agreement is aligned with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the rights to sell or license the space’s naming rights.

Chesapeake Energy’s original contract with the Thunder set up a 12-year contract worth $34 million starting in 2011. Though, the final two years of the deal were ultimately terminated due to a decision within Chesapeake Energy.

As a company, Chesapeake Energy has been battling financial struggles over the past year. These issues finally culminated in February as the group filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, resulting in a ripple effect that saw over $7.8 billion in debt equitized, and 220 Oklahoma City workers being laid off. That was 15-percent of the company’s workforce within Oklahoma City.  

The Thunder’s newest namesake for the arena will become the third in franchise history as it will join the Ford Center (2002-2010) and Chesapeake Energy Arena as its prior keepsakes.

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