If you thought Clay Bennett was done moving basketball teams to Oklahoma City, guess again. The Thunder’s D-League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers, is packing up and moving 100 miles south to the state capitol for its upcoming season:
The Thunder is now in negotiations with Oklahoma City officials to lease the Cox Convention Center for the 66ers’ 24-game regular season home schedule. Capacity inside the Cox Center for basketball events is listed as 13,846. The venue also hosts the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons.
No decision has been made whether the team will retain the 66ers nickname or rebrand the franchise.
If they do rebrand, the odds-on favorite for a new nickname has to be “Lightning”, right?
Here’s the impetus for the move:
It’s a move necessitated by the 66ers’ home arena, the 4,500-seat SpiritBank Event Center in Bixby, choosing to go in a different direction and cease booking major events. The venue decided it would no longer offer arena space lease the space to anyone, including the 66ers…
…“Our two seasons in Bixby were successful, and we were pleased to be there, but circumstance beyond our control made it necessary to look for a new home for our Development League team,” said Danny Barth, executive vice president and chief administrative office of the Thunder.
“We explored several potentially viable options but were unable to find a facility in the Tulsa area that meets all of our business and basketball needs, so we made the decision to bring the team to Oklahoma City…”
Gee, never heard that one before.