Oklahoma City voters approved a penny sales tax to build a new, publicly owned downtown arena today, securing OKC as home to the Oklahoma City Thunder beyond 2050.
“Tonight, we told the nation, we told the world, that Oklahoma City is and shall remain a Big League City,” Mayor David Holt said.
The new arena will be funded by a 72-month, one-cent sales tax that will start when the MAPS 4 tax ends and will not increase the sales tax rate. The arena will also be paid for with $70 million in MAPS 4 funding and $50 million from the Oklahoma City Thunder ownership group. Read the letter of intent.
The City agreed to spend a minimum of $900 million on the arena. The new arena will be built downtown, but the exact location has not been determined.
Read FAQs about the arena.
The election results are unofficial until they are certified.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will play all home games at the Paycom Center until the new arena is ready to move in, no later than the start of the 2029-2030 National Basketball Association season. The Thunder’s 25-year commitment to remain in Oklahoma City begins when they move into the new arena.
The Paycom Center is the smallest in the NBA by square footage, it has the second-smallest capital investment of all NBA arenas, and at 21 years old, it is increasingly within range of the oldest arenas in the entire NBA.
Workforce Intermediary Programs
In September, City Council adopted a resolution directing the City Manager to negotiate the use of workforce intermediary programs by the new arena operator for recruitment, training and hiring of Oklahoma City residents who are in most need of jobs. The resolution also requires the new arena operator to pay its part-time and full-time employees a wage equal to what City of Oklahoma City employees earn for similar work. Additionally, the resolution creates a working group to study and evaluate the use of labor peace agreements at the new arena.
The Oklahoma City Thunder has called Oklahoma City home since 2008. In 2023, the initial term of the 2008 use license agreement expired. The Thunder exercised an option to extend the agreement for three years to allow time for the city to develop a plan for a new arena.