Chesapeake Energy Arena, originally known as the Ford Center from 2002-2010 and Oklahoma City Arena until 2011, is located in Downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is home to the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. Its sponsor, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, is an American energy company that works in hydrocarbon exploration and is headquartered in Oklahoma City.
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Arena Guide by Basketball Tripper
Initially labeled and marketed as a “state-of-the-art” facility, the arena was constructed to minimum NBA and NHL specifications because of local concern about expenditures without a professional sports team in the city. Given the recent relocation decision by the Seattle Sonics ownership in 2007, Oklahoma City placed a sales tax action on the city election ballot. It was passed by a 62% to 38% margin.
In order to fund $121 million in improvements to the arena, as well as fund a separate practice facility for the relocated franchise, the city extended a prior one-cent sales tax for 15 months. It was expected that the refurbishment would turn the Chesapeake Energy Arena into a top-tier NBA facility.
Some of the planned upgrades to the arena included upscale restaurants, clubs, additional suites, office space, Kids Zone, further concessions, flooring upgrades, view lounges, and an upgraded locker room. League-specific amenities included designated NBA locker rooms and facilities, a practice court, media broadcast facilities, lighting, sound, an NBA press room, an onsite NBA and team store, and ticket/staff rooms.
Renovation work on the arena was delayed due to a sales tax receipt shortfall during the 2008–10 economic crisis. The tax receipts gathered $103.5 million, which was short of the projected $121 million. These financial shortcomings were made up by lessening the size of specific amenities, but the renovations still brought the arena to league standards.
Best Bars Near Ground
Several popular bars are located within walking distance to the arena, with a few of the favorites being Texadelphia, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, Whiskey Chicks, and Bricktown Brewery. The Bricktown Brewery is an old-school American brew-pub that offers some of the best-handcrafted beers and surprisingly good food. The legendary hickory-smoked BBQ goes fantastic with their award-winning handcrafted beer. Enjoy live music every Friday and Saturday night. The Brewery is a perfect place for large groups, with three private rooms and a large semi-private room.
Food - Places to Eat
While several of the bars and pubs in the area offer several food options, a few other food options are a favorite of the locals and are right around the arena that you can stop at before tip-off. Some of those favorites include Center Court Grill, Texadelphia, FLINT, Bourbon Street Cafe, The Melting Pot, and many others. Since the Thunder are the only major professional team in the city, many places will be playing the game and will be a great spot to catch a bite before the game or even watch the game while eating.
The Chesapeake Energy Arena does not currently offer public tours.
Oklahoma City Thunder Tickets
Typically, Thunder tickets vary on who they are playing on the given night, but tickets can be found for as low as $14, with an average price of $80. Some of the arena’s premium seating options include the Terrace Suites, Club Landings, Riverwind Casino Terrace Ledge, and executive suites. While these options are on the pricier side, they all offer all-inclusive food and beverage and come with other fantastic amenities that can enhance your gameday experience.
Visiting the Arena - Travel
Since the Chesapeake Energy Arena is located near the heart of Oklahoma City, there are several travel options you can choose from. The most popular transportation methods would include EMBARK (formerly Metro Transit), which provides bus, ferry transit, streetcar, and downtown parking solutions in the Oklahoma City metro area. There are also various forms of care services and thousands of parking spots if you chose to bring your vehicle.
The address for the Chesapeake Energy Arena is as follows:
• 100 W Reno Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73102
While traffic during game nights will drive larger crowds than usual down to Oklahoma City, you should be in the clear of heavy traffic if you leave a few hours before tip-off. If you are coming from surrounding suburbs, you will most likely be coming into the city on a major highway then transitioning into city street driving.
While there are public/paid parking options on any given game night, the lot that the Chesapeake Energy Arena sponsors is the Cox Convention Center in the underground parking garage. This parking garage holds about 1,000 cars, and there are also thousands of lots within walking distance to the arena.
For public transportation, you are most likely looking to be on EMBARK (formerly Metro Transit), which provides bus, ferry transit, and downtown parking options in the Oklahoma City area. With a variety of transportation methods, you will be able to find reliable public transportation before and after a Thunder game.
Airports and Flying
If you are coming from out of state and flying, you will most likely fly into Will Rogers World Airport. The drive from the airport to the arena is 10 miles and will roughly take 25-40 minutes to reach the arena. The most popular transportation methods to the Chesapeake Energy Arena are by bus ($20-$25), taxi ($25-$40), or car.