The day has finally come: Chesapeake Energy has announced they have ended their naming rights deal with Oklahoma City, per ESPN’s Royce Young.
Let’s be honest: we all saw this coming. Chesapeake Energy has had its fair share of hard times since making the agreement back in 2011. With that being said, I’m sad to see the name go. Nearly all of the great Thunder moments occurred when the arena was called the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Plus, the nickname the The Peake is actually pretty solid.
However, this is just how the stadium name game is. Back in 2010, I swore I would only refer to the arena as the “Ford Center”, the original name for the big brick oval on Reno. That obviously didn’t happen and it won’t happen here.
So, where do the Thunder go now? Here are a few (somewhat) serious candidates.
If you are still reading this or reading this on a new device after breaking the previous one, take a deep breath. This one probably won’t happen.
As we are all VERY aware, Love’s already has an enormous amount of money in sponsoring the Thunder. Those bright yellow patches don’t come cheap, folks! As Forbes’ Nick Crain put it in 2019, “(the) jersey patch sponsorship with Love’s is presumably more lucrative than even the naming rights of their home arena”. In addition to that, Love’s also already has a massive decal on both baselines of the Thunder’s court already.
Will Love’s be happy enough with just the patch and sticker? Only time (and money) will tell.
The people’s champ! Not only has the the cheese brand been in a seemingly random love affair with the Thunder since early 2020, but they’ve been actively pushing this idea for months.
As lovely as this sounds, this is probably not going to happen. Not only is Velveeta just a subsidiary, but the name suggested doesn’t even have the brand’s name in it. While I love the name and fans would overwhelmingly adore it, I just don’t see this going beyond a fun internet joke.
The option that would make people the maddest, but also would be so genuinely hilarious. Selecting a national brand born in your city normally isn’t a bad idea, but most brands aren’t this ironic.
Not only is league approval a pretty big question, but also would Sonic be up for it? The Thunder oddly enough aren’t even the team they’ve invested in the most, as the Memphis Grizzlies have seen tons of promotions from them over the years.
This one won’t happen, but at least we have the mental image of what the Twitter meltdown would look like.
(While I’m at it: count out Braum’s and Whataburger too. While Whata is slightly more likely, Braum’s doesn’t have the capital to spend like that.)
Like it or not, this is the most likely candidate. Paycom checks all the boxes, other than being cool. Paycom has grown like crazy the past few years, skyrocketing to the top of Oklahoma companies.
Not only that, they love to sponsor sports stuff: the Jim Thrope Award, preseason NCAA basketball tournaments, you name it. The name is already on the court with a sideline decal, but naming the arena would bring next-level national brand awareness to the company.
Is it a particularly cool name? Not really. However, money talks, and Paycom’s logo is green for a reason.