Oklahoma City Thunder successfully extort its way to new arena

The Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder are getting a brand new area and the workforce’s possession group is contributing $50 million of the $900 million tab. The status of proprietor Clay Bennett, who was accountable for killing the Seattle Supersonics, preceded him, and 71 p.c of Oklahoma Metropolis voters didn’t wish to name his bluff, in order that they authorized a 1 p.c gross sales tax.

In a world the place the Los Angeles Dodgers paid Shohei Ohtani $700 million, and LIV golf shelled out practically $600 million for Jon Rahm, Bennett and his cronies couldn’t contribute greater than $50 million to a brand new area? The franchise is paying Shia Gilgeous-Alexander and Davis Bertans that a lot mixed this season.

Bennett’s group purchased the Sonics for $325 million and up to date estimates by Forbes now worth the workforce at $3 billion. The folks of Oklahoma Metropolis voted to maintain their workforce and make sure the continued improve of the world’s revenue disparity. There’s additionally $70 million in MAPS 4 funds that might go to infrastructure, or different group initiatives, however as a substitute, might be redirected towards a sports activities constructing. Yay!

Within the memorandum for the deal, OKC mayor and metropolis council declare, “The brand new area might be designed and constructed as a first-class, state-of-the-art facility with at the least 750,000 sq. ft.”

Forgive me, however I don’t suppose they understand how far $900 million goes in the case of hoops’ palaces.

The Warriors spent $1.6 billion on the Chase Middle. Steve Ballmer sunk $2 billion into the Clippers’ new digs that aren’t even opened but. “First-class” and “state-of-the-art” is perhaps apt adjectives to explain these self-funded initiatives, however no matter will get in-built Oklahoma Metropolis received’t be on par with arenas which are really “first-class,” and also you marvel when the cycle will refresh itself.

There have been a litany of group advantages within the deal that had been used to sweeten the pot, together with an anticipated provision for a workforce middleman, and a “residing wage” of $15 per hour. So let me get this proper: The quid professional quo with the group was agreeing to pay those that assist construct the world $15 per hour?

The present minimal wage in Oklahoma is $7.25, however a recent initiative was proposed to lift it to . . . you guessed it: $15. (I’m additionally of the opinion that $15 is a gross minimal wage, however I’m not an economist, and have lived in excessive cost-of-living areas for over a decade.)

Everyone knows nobody is extra simply swayed by financial buzzwords and guarantees of group advantages than native politicians, so this shouldn’t be a shock. Nor ought to this gem from Nick Singer, spokesman for Oklahoma Progress Now, the advocacy group that ran the opposition marketing campaign (via the Oklahoman).

“Mayor [David] Holt negotiated a horrible deal, and the Chamber and their allies ran a fear-based inferiority marketing campaign about OKC — and it labored. They scared voters and voters supported a nasty deal, however it doesn’t change the truth that it’s a nasty deal. It’s a 95/5 deal, and that doesn’t change simply since you declare it has all of those positives, however the mayor was prepared to associate with it.”

To his level, Singer stated the Construct Your Personal Area spent lower than $10,000 on its marketing campaign, whereas current paperwork present the Better Oklahoma Metropolis Chamber of Commerce dropped at the least $478,000 on pro-arena TV advert expenditures since November. The group Hold OKC Large League speaks on to the inferiority complicated that pro-arena forces sought to use, and voters fortunately complied.

“We advised the nation, we advised the world, that Oklahoma Metropolis is and shall stay a Large League Metropolis,” Mayor Holt stated of the choice.


The Thunder is the one professional sports activities sport within the state and that may create an overprotective but rabid fanbase ( you, Portland and Utah). Folks like to see their cities represented on the nationwide and, I assume, world levels, so it takes a reasonably repugnant individual to repeatedly extort that attachment.

Only for file, Clay Bennett is that repugnant individual.

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