The National Basketball Association’s Oklahoma City Thunder agreed to a 15-year arena naming rights deal with software company Paycom, and the downtown sports complex will be called Paycom Center.
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Paycom is a public company based in Oklahoma that sells human resources and payroll software; its customers include the National Football League’s New England Patriots. Paycom is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and has a market cap of $23.6 billion. Terms of the pact with the Thunder were not disclosed, but the deal doesn’t surpass $100 million.
A new name for the Chesapeake Energy Arena could be announced as soon as next week following removal of Chesapeake signage on Thursday. Sue Hollenbeck, special projects manager with the City of Oklahoma City, confirmed Thursday owners of the Oklahoma City Thunder have a naming rights deal set pending Downtown Design Review Committee approval of new signage and additional lighting.
Thunder representatives could not be reached for comment on Thursday. The Chesapeake signage was being removed on Thursday. The downtown arena is owned by the city, but according to the arena use license agreement between the Thunder and Oklahoma City, the team has the “exclusive right to sell, grant or license all naming rights.” The Thunder also is responsible for costs associated with arena signage.
Joe Mussatto: The Chesapeake Energy Arena signage came down today. (by Chris Landsberger)
There will be a new name on the building where the Oklahoma City Thunder plays its home games, but it’s not clear what that name will be or when the change will take place. Chesapeake Energy Arena will be renamed after Chesapeake Energy Corp. terminated its naming rights, effective immediately, the team announced Tuesday. Chesapeake, which recently emerged from bankruptcy, had a 12-year agreement worth $34 million for the naming rights beginning in 2011.
That agreement, along with various others between Chesapeake Energy and the team’s ownership group, were voided as part of the energy company’s bankruptcy process. A timeline for finding a new naming rights partner was not immediately provided by the Thunder. The building, which is owned by Oklahoma City and was opened in 2002, will continue to be called Chesapeake Energy Arena in the interim.
“As we move toward a transition to a new naming rights partner for our arena, we would like to recognize our extraordinary history with Chesapeake Energy,” Thunder chairman Clay Bennett said in a statement. “For a decade, the arena has proudly bore its name and we thank Chesapeake, one of our founding partners, for its loyal support and partnership.”
While the name may be changing, Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler remains a fan of the team. “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, we will continue to strongly support the team,” Lawler said in a statement.
MAPS 4 could direct $120 million to $135 million toward upgrades and expansion of Chesapeake Energy Arena and improvements of the city-owned Oklahoma City Thunder practice facility. Keeping the city’s arena competitive among NBA teams and on the concert circuit was the focus of one of four MAPS 4 presentations reviewed by the city council Tuesday.
Many of the ideas for MAPS 4 investments are geared toward enhancing amenities for basketball fans, such as wider concourses and new eating and drinking options, expanding the building’s footprint by 70,000 square feet. Locker rooms would get a makeover, in part to accommodate the increasing number of women being hired in roles, including NBA coaches. A new scoreboard and larger video screens offering higher definition and greater clarity would replace current technology; seats and elevators would be replaced.
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September 16, 2021 | 8:36 pm EDT Update
Keith Smith: The Shanghai Sharks have signed former NBAers Jimmer Fredette and Noah Vonleh. This will be Fredette’s 5th season with Shanghai. He last played in the NBA in 2019 with the Phoenix Suns. Vonleh was briefly with the Brooklyn Nets last season. This is his first season with Shanghai.
NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo was in Greece for a meeting with the country’s prime minister Thursday and a special ceremony to bestow Greek citizenship on his mother Veronica and younger brother Alex. Antetokounmpo, who led the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA championship in July, attended the ceremony at the official residence of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The 26-year-old Antetokounmpo was born in Athens, the son of Nigerian immigrants. He was granted Greek citizenship in 2013, allowing him to travel to the United States and join the Bucks later that year.
“We always felt Greek, but now we have an official stamp and we are happy,” Antetokounmpo told reporters after the ceremony. “Alex and my mom are Greek citizens now.” Antetokounmpo also traveled to Greece in August with his brother Thanassis, carrying the Larry O’Brien NBA championship trophy. He took the trophy to the ancient Acropolis in Athens to celebrate with members of his family.
September 16, 2021 | 8:07 pm EDT Update
Keith Smith: Cleaning up some loose ends on TPEs for the Boston Celtics… The Celtics used the Daniel Theis $5M TPE to acquire Kris Dunn in the three-team deal with the Hawks and Kings. That leaves Boston with five current TPEs. Those TPEs and expiration dates are in the next tweet. 1/2