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Chesapeake Energy snares OKC naming rights

Chesapeake Energy Arena{jathumbnail off}

The home of the Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA) will have a new name and a new look for the 2011-2012 season (if it happens), as Chesapeake Energy buys naming rights to the arena.

The deal for Chesapeake Energy Arena is an extension of an existing relationship between the pair, as Chesapeake is one of the Thunder’s five Founding Partners.

“On behalf of the entire Thunder organization, we are extremely proud to enhance our already strong partnership with Chesapeake Energy,” said Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett in a press release. “Besides being a leader in the national and international energy industry, Chesapeake is a dynamic business and community leader in Oklahoma. Together with the Thunder’s commitment to the community, it makes the naming rights partnership a perfect fit. The Thunder looks forward to many exciting years ahead playing in Chesapeake Energy Arena in downtown Oklahoma City.”

In a refreshing change, the pair actually released the terms of the deal: The 12-year naming rights agreement has an initial annual cost of $3 million with a 3 percent annual escalation. The agreement includes Chesapeake branding throughout the building including on the basketball court, prominent premium placement on the high-definition scoreboard and new state-of-the-art interior and exterior digital signage. Most of the signage will be in place by the start of the Thunder’s 2011-12 season. 

Oklahoma City renovations

They’ll be put in place as part of the second round of renovations to the former Ford Center, managed by SMG. The arena will feature a new grand entry with a multi-story atrium (as shown above), a new 75′ wide x 21′ tall exterior video display on the north face of the facility, new restaurants and lounges, a family fun zone, new team offices and expanded locker rooms.

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