The energy company has partnered with the Oklahoma City
Thunder for the naming rights to the downtown arena where the team plays its
games. Originally known as the Ford Center, then the Oklahoma City Arena, it
will now be known as the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Chesapeake CEO Aubrey
McClendon is one of the team’s owners.
The deal gives Chesapeake naming rights for 12 years in
exchange for an initial annual cost of $3 million with an annual escalation of
3 percent, the Thunder and Chesapeake report.
“On behalf of the entire Thunder organization, we are
extremely proud to enhance our already strong partnership with Chesapeake
Energy,” said Thunder Chairman Clayton I. Bennett (pictured) in a prepared statement. “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.”
Chesapeake’s blue flame logo will be splashed throughout the arena
including on the basketball court, name placement on the scoreboard, and on new
interior and exterior digital signage. The company plans to have the signage up
by the start of the team’s 2011-2012 season. Currently, the NBA players are locked
out by team owners and the start of the upcoming season is still uncertain. The
arena is closed through October for taxpayer-funded improvements. It is owned
by the city and managed by SMG.
“The Chesapeake Energy Arena and the Thunder are both
strong reminders of the incredible progress our city has made in the past
decade as well as the energy our citizens have demonstrated to keep building an
even better and stronger Oklahoma City in the years ahead,” said Martha A.
Burger, Chesapeake’s senior vice president of human and corporate resources, in
a prepared statement. “The naming rights also provide a
powerful natural gas branding opportunity for our company, particularly when
you consider the national, and even global, reach of the Thunder.”