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Mayor Holt unveils Maps 4 Thunder…

9:07 AM EDT on September 13, 2023

Who’s ready for a solid three months of annoying, intractable, and totally insufferable online “debates” centered on the public funding of sports arenas?!

Yesterday afternoon, the Oklahoma City Ruling Class, by proxy of the city it controls, announced plans to build a taxpayer-funded $900-million arena for the OKC Thunder that – if approved by a small minority of Oklahoma City residents – will keep Berry’s Boomers in OKC through at least 2050, and further cement our status as a “Big League City.”

Well, at least that’s what David Holt and his Chamber of Commerce string pullers are telling us...

Uhm, I cover this town for a living, and this is the first time I've heard about these "very public discussions" for the arena. Considering how much he likes the Thunder and their ownership group, maybe he meant to type "pubic" instead.

That would explain the great deal the team is getting.

As part of the plan, the Oklahoma City Thunder ownership group – a small group of well-to-do gentlemen with a collective net worth of billions of dollars – have promised to pitch in a token $50-million towards the construction and/or to upgrade the lighting and fixtures.

Yep, that's right – $50 million dollars.

Sure, the $50-mil is probably the smallest amount they could contribute while still keeping a straight face and is comically small when compared to what other teams have contributed in recent years, but… I guess it’s better than nothing. 

Back when Holt first teased the new arena, I shared my thoughts on it. They haven’t changed. Just like every MAPS plan in our city’s history, I’m totally for it and you’ll never change my mind. 

Will the arena disproportionately benefit Downtown landowners and other rich people? Yes. Could the money be better spent on something else? Sure. Is it a sad reality of capitalistic sports economics? Of course.

But guess what? I'm a sports fan, and I like having a hometown NBA basketball team. It's fun to watch and follow and gives me something to do on boring winter nights. I also remember what OKC was like before all the MAPS stuff helped revitalize our city, and trust me, it’s worth a penny on every dollar to never go back to that. Rah Rah Thunder Up!

That being said, I do understand the points against it. 

If you’re cheap, hate sports, or think public money should always be spent on more important issues like combating homelessness or feeding the hungry, I can totally see why you’d be against it and want to complain into the empty voids of social media while coasting through red lights on your little bicycle, angrily claiming that those who want a new arena are nothing but compassionless, brainwashed lemmings who can’t think for themselves…

Hey, I warned you there’s going to be a lot of annoying, intractable, and totally insufferable online “debates” over the next three months or so.

Anyway, I guess if you want to contribute to that discussion, leave a comment. I doubt it will change anyone’s mind, but it will feel good to get it off our chest. 

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised. 

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