Chesapeake Energy announced today that they will no longer sponsor the home of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

I think a lot of people saw this one coming after stories started coming out about Chesapeake Energy filing for bankruptcy. According to the New York Times, the company accumulated around $20 billion in debt and that was all the way back in 2013. In 2019, they got that number down to around $9.5 billion. Still the company is going through a restructuring and they believe it is best to no longer sponsor the arena.

Back in 2011, they signed a twelve year deal with the Thunder for the naming rights to the arena. It cost them three million for the first year and every year after that they would pay an additional 3% of that three million dollar price tag. It's not cheap putting your name on a facility.

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"As Chesapeake Energy Arena, our building has been home to so many exciting and historic moments and events. As we look to forge a new partnership for naming rights, we will identify a partner who will help build on that history and be the centerpiece of our growing, modern and vibrant downtown environment,” said Clayton I. Bennett, chairman of the Oklahoma City Thunder, in a news release.

Before the Thunder came to OKC, this arena was previously called The Ford Center from 2002 to 2010. When the Thunder moved in, they could not come to an agreement with the Oklahoma Ford Dealers group. They had bought the rights at the time and not the Ford corporation as a whole. Maybe they want the name back?

We will wait and see if anyone makes some bids.

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