The Oklahoma City Council unanimously approved a lease agreement which will allow for a professional basketball team to play at the Ford Center during their morning meeting.
The agreement with Professional Basketball Club LLC runs for 15 years beginning with the first season the team plays in Oklahoma City. PBC owns the Seattle SuperSonics and has filed paperwork to move the team to Oklahoma City with the National Basketball Association. The NBA is set to meet later this week to vote on the move.
Under the terms of the lease, the team would pay the city $1.64 million a year to play at the Ford Center. The Sonics would also pay the city $100,000 a year for use of a practice facility the city will build for the team if the NBA votes to relocate the team. The city is paying for improvements to the Ford Center and the construction of the practice facility after Oklahoma City voters approved a 1-cent sales tax last month.
Ward 2 council member Sam Bowman voiced the only point of contention, questioning the amount of rent the Sonics would pay for the practice facility. His concern is a clause in the agreement which requires the city to put 20 percent of the rent into a maintenance account for the building. Bowman felt that amount was low and the rent fee should be higher.
"We've undercut ourselves," Bowman said.
Oklahoma City Manager Jim Couch argued most of the maintenance work should fall to the city.
"It's our facility," Couch told Bowman. "It's like a library or fire station. It's our responsibility."
All members of the city council voted in favor of the lease agreement except Ann Simank of Ward 6 who was absent. "? Scott Cooper