OKC Thunder arena sponsor Chesapeake Energy seek bankruptcy protection

Fans gather outside Chesapeake Energy Arena before Game OKC Thunder (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Fans gather outside Chesapeake Energy Arena before Game OKC Thunder (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

With Chesapeake Energy filing for bankruptcy protection, the OKC Thunder will need to find a new partner and rename their arena.

By the time the OKC Thunder is back playing in front of fans at home the name on the arena will have changed. March 11th as it turns out was the last time we’ll refer to the Thunder home as Chesapeake Energy Arena. The energy company filed for bankruptcy protection this past weekend.

The Chesapeake Energy company was founded in 1989 by Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward. The primary focus of the energy company was drilling in untraditional ways. Specifically, the company used lateral drilling methods on shale formations to obtain natural gas.

They became a leader in the energy industry in what became better known as the ‘fracking boom’. A massive nine billion dollars of debt forced the owners to file for chapter 11.

Timing as it turns out also worked against Chesapeake as the coronavirus pandemic led to a reduction of the necessity for oil and gas. With the lack of demand, that also meant prices were driven down, no doubt making the situation worse for energy companies like Chesapeake. CNN writers Matt Egan and Clare Duffy offered details on the company seeking bankruptcy protection.

OKC Thunder will need to rename their arena

With this news, it means the Thunder will need to rename their arena. The original name of the arena was the Ford Center.

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Social media has been lit with names the team should consider. Of course, the one that resonates is the ‘Thunder Dome’. Fans of the post-apocalyptic Mad Max movie series are keen for this naming since it denotes a battle in a steel cage.

Although the visual of the Thunderdome is enticing it’s a pretty decent bet this won’t happen since it doesn’t have any ties to a sponsor.

With the future financial situation being difficult for the NBA, small markets like Oklahoma City will need to make sure they align with a partner who can offer sponsorship support.

The Thunder currently has the ‘Loves’ patch on their jerseys highlighting their ties to Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. Other sponsors and partners the OKC Thunder have worked with include Sonic, Union Pacific Railroad, and OU Medicine.

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing the need to rename the Thunder home arena isn’t pressing but when the time comes we’ll be excited about the process.

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