The Oklahoma City Thunder‘s Chesapeake Energy Arena was opened in 2002 and just finished being renovated this season, but according to at least one fan blog, it’s already obsolete:
There will come a day when the Thunder, metaphorical hat in metaphorical hand, come to local voters asking for money to re-renovate the Peake or money for an entirely new arena. And judging by recent history, and the lamentable timing that led the Peake to be designed barely before the truly modern standards for revenue-generating arena plans came to full fruition (most visibly, for example, a second deck of suites along the sidelines), that day might be coming sooner than people think.
Oh no! We forgot to build double-decked suites!
I’m not actually sure that two levels of suites is so vital to the NBA business, especially in a smallish market like OKC, that it’s worth tearing down an 11-year-old building just to build a new one that’s tricked out like the kids in the big cities have. But don’t let me stop Michael Kimball of the Daily Thunder, who’s off to the races explaining why even though new arenas don’t really help your local economy so much, building another one would still be worth it:
Yes, people spend money at Thunder games, in and near the arena, on many things, and the city gets to keep the sales tax revenue. And yes, a lot of those people come from suburbs and other places outside of Oklahoma City. But at least some of those dollars, coming from a person’s or a family’s entertainment budget, would have been spent elsewhere in the local economy. The Thunder’s presence certainly provides some marketing and advertising for the city, but the amount is hard to calculate.
Still, the Thunder were competitive in the NBA after only half of the inaugural season, and legitimate title contenders in only the third season in OKC. That remains the case, and will remain the case as long as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are on the team. From a fan’s perspective, there’s hardly any more than you can ask for. And from a voter’s perspective, with some imported tax dollars undoubtedly rolling in and Oklahoma City’s increased national and international profile, it’s hard to argue that there’s at least some true and tangible benefit for having the team in town.
So what he’s saying here is that … you can’t put a price on the attention you get from playing in the NBA Finals, I guess? Of course, he also includes a long section on how Oklahoma City did good by paying cash instead of borrowing the arena money, thus avoiding interest payments — which, yes, but it also means you have to shell out the money now rather than putting it off till later, when it’s worth less in present value, something that anyone who’s taken out a home mortgage should understand. So maybe it’s not really worth addressing Kimball’s actual arguments, but better just to sit back and admire the aesthetic perfection of someone arguing on behalf of building a new arena to replace one that’s only just finished being built. Take this any further, and somebody’s going to have to call in the Campaign for Real Time.