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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Thunder celebrates 10 years of NBA in OKC

OKC Thunder Fans

This story originally ran on

October 2018 marked 10 years since the Oklahoma City Thunder played its first game in Oklahoma City, the beginning of Oklahoma City’s status as a big-league city. But bringing the NBA to Oklahoma City is a story that started much earlier than the Thunder’s first game.

Oklahoma City’s serious aspirations to attract a major sporting franchise began in earnest with the passage of the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) in 1993. One of the MAPS program’s capstone projects was the construction of an arena built to meet NBA and NHL specifications. Construction on that arena began in 1999, and the facility opened on June 8, 2002. In 2005, Oklahoma City had an opportunity to host a professional sports team when the New Orleans Hornets temporarily relocated to Oklahoma City following Hurricane Katrina. From 2005-2007, the Hornets played two seasons in Oklahoma City, enjoying its sell-out crowds and supportive fan base. The excitement in Oklahoma City provided overwhelming evidence to the NBA that a team could be successful here.

Fans were just as eager to see Oklahoma City have a team of their own. In March 2008, Oklahoma City residents approved a penny sales tax to further propel Oklahoma City to the big leagues. The temporary sales tax raised $121 million to pay for needed improvements to the arena and to construct a practice facility.

Later that year, the Oklahoma City Thunder started its inaugural season and played its first home game on Oct. 14, 2008. In a Q&A that appeared in that month’s issue of The POINT!, Thunder Vice President of Corporate Communications Dan Mahoney said, “Because Oklahoma City has experienced the NBA through the Hornets, the city realizes what a tremendous community asset the Thunder can be. The people of Oklahoma City have been incredibly welcoming. Our players, coaches and staff are as excited to be here as the city is to have us.”

basketball, history, live sporting events, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The return of Loud City

OKC Thunder Fans

When it comes to sports in Oklahoma City, we can be a divided people. Sooners vs. Cowboys in some cases stretches back to birth. However, there is one thing everyone agrees on. The Chesapeake Energy Arena is the place to be in OKC when the Thunder are in the building.

As always, it was not a boring offseason for the home teams as superstar Paul George signed a new deal with the team. The announcement happened at a house party hosted by Russell Westbrook featuring a performance from hip-hop superstar Nas. You know … typical Oklahoma City stuff.

The Thunder tips-off the 2018-19 season with a preseason game at the ‘Peake this week. The real season tips-off October 16 with a short road trip out west, before the home opener against the Kings of Sacramento October 21. See a full schedule here and get your tickets today.

basketball, live sporting events, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Marquee games

Chesapeake Energy Arena

New to town? Maybe not real familiar with the NBA? Here are some games we have circled as "can’t miss":

  • Sacramento Kings- Oct. 21; Home openers are always great but this is extra special as the Kings are led by former University of Oklahoma superstar Buddy Hield.
  • Boston Celtics- Oct. 25; The Celtics look like the class of the Eastern Conference and feature former Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart.
  • Houston Rockets- Nov. 8; Harden vs. Russ, the return of Melo. The Rockets vs. Thunder never disappoint.
  • New York Knicks- Nov. 14; Enes Kanter might be the most beloved former Thunder player. Don’t expect many boos when Kanter’s Knicks come to town.
  • Atlanta Hawks- Nov. 30; Former OU star Trae Young makes his first trip to OKC as a pro.
  • Dallas Mavericks- Dec. 31; New Year’s Eve with Russ. What else do you need to know?
  • Los Angeles Lakers- Jan. 17; Lebron James’ first trip to OKC in the purple and gold.
  • Golden State Warriors- March 16; Bring ear plugs.
basketball, live sporting events, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

May in OKC

NBA playoffs (hopefully), 14 home games for the Dodgers, three home games for the Energy, the Big 12 Softball and Baseball Championships, Oklahoma City Whitewater Festival … well, it is safe to say May is a sports fan’s dream. Luckily our friends over at the Convention and Visitors Bureau have all the action covered in their monthly events video.

Dodgers, live sporting events, OKC Energy, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

January in Oklahoma City

Just because the holidays are over that doesn’t mean the fun stops in Oklahoma City. Don’t just take our word for it though. Go check out the January in OKC video from our partners at the Convention and Visitors Bureau for a look at all of this month’s happenings. From Thunder basketball to the Color Purple and everything in between, the calendar is packed full this month in the 4-0-5.

Adventure District, attractions, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Thunder in the New Year

OKC Thunder Drummers

Why not ring in the New Year with Russell Westbrook and 18,000 of your rowdiest friends as the Thunder take on the Dallas Mavericks on New Year’s Eve? Get your tickets here. Be sure to check out the menus at downtown restaurants as many will feature special New Year’s Eve menus.

What are you doing to usher in 2018? Don’t hesitate to hit us up on Facebook or Twitter with questions or ideas. All our posts are also tagged by topic so you can easily find past blogs for information, everything from attractions to downtown and much more.

basketball, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What weíre thankful for

MAPS Whitewater Rapids

Since 2017 was such a big year for our community, and this is the week of giving thanks, we thought we would share some of the things we are thankful for.

  • A River’s Rise: The Oklahoma River continues to be an unexpected gem in the heart of downtown.
  • MAPS 3: The landmark initiative continues to make huge strides as we see more and more projects take shape.
  • The citizens: This year the citizens of OKC approved a $1.2 billion infrastructure investment to improve their community.
  • The Thunder: This year marks a decade of Thundering Up in OKC.
  • Innovation: Oklahoma City took the first steps in creating an innovation district based on the results of a Brookings/Project for Public Spaces study on OKC.
  • Beer: Recent changes in state law have resulted in an explosion of craft breweries in the metro.
  • Live music: The opening of several new venues have brought the live music scene in Oklahoma City to another level.
  • Tinker: This year marked the 75th anniversary of Tinker Air Force Base.
Thunder, Tinker, beer, community, Innovation District, live music, MAPS, Oklahoma River
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November in OKC

November is a busy month in OKC, but don’t worry because our friends at the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau have you covered with their November in OKC video. This month they even brought along a very special guest, Thunder defensive wizard Andre Roberson. Get fired up with six Thunder home games this month, Downtown in December festivities kicking off, Chris Stapleton at the Chesapeake Energy arena and so much more.

attractions, concerts, downtown, holiday, live sporting events, music, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

MAPS 3 update

Scissortail Park Groundbreaking

So we tend to talk about the MAPS projects a lot. A whole lot. Just type in MAPS to our search bar and you will see an abundance of content. In our defense, MAPS is a pretty big deal around these parts. The program helped jump start our city’s modern renaissance and a lot of great things around our city can be traced back to one of the programs (Oklahoma River, Thunder, Bricktown Canal, etc.).

If you are new to Oklahoma City here is a brief refresher on each MAPS program:

The MAPS 3 projects are well underway and they will help change the face of OKC over the next couple of years. We thought it would be a great time to give a quick update on all the projects. It is important to remember that MAPS projects are built debt-free. That helps keep our city in great financial shape, but also means the projects take a little longer to build.

  • Downtown Convention Center- The design of the new convention center has been approved and construction crews will break ground in early 2018. Also, an agreement was reached with Omni to operate an attached convention center hotel.
  • Scissortail Park- Construction has begun on the new 70-acre park. The park will include everything from a café to sports facilities and a lake. The name was chosen from an online vote of residents.
  • Oklahoma City Streetcar- If you have been downtown lately, you know construction on the streetcar lines are well underway. Service is set to begin late next year.
  • RIVERSPORT Rapids- One of the first projects to be completed, you can now whitewater raft in the heart of downtown.
  • Bennett Event Center- Completed earlier this year, the Bennett Events Center added 279,000 square feet of exhibit space to State Fair Park.
  • Senior Health and Wellness Centers- The first center has opened and membership has exceeded projections. Three more centers will open throughout the city over the next three years.
  • Trails- This $40 million project will bring three new trail systems to OKC’s already robust network. The West River Trail is already complete with two more trails finishing up before the end of next year.
  • Sidewalks- This ongoing project is bringing much-needed sidewalks to every part of the city. Click here for a map of the progress.
Bricktown, downtown, MAPS, Oklahoma River, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Three things to watch this upcoming season

OKC Thunder Fans

The start to the regular NBA season is nearly upon us, which means Thunder basketball is finally returning! Whether you’re a casual fan or claim to be the biggest, here are three things to look out for this upcoming season.

The first, and probably one of the most obvious, is to get to know the new big three in OKC; Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. It was an eventful offseason as the Thunder added George, a four-time all-star and Olympic gold medalist, and the 10-time all-star Anthony. Oh, and some Westbrook guy signed the biggest contract in NBA history to stay in Oklahoma City for six more seasons. With three superstars on the roster, the revamped Thunder are poised to make a run in the Western conference.

Second, be sure to pay close attention to the crazy clothing styles Westbrook will unleash this year. We know, this doesn’t have much to do with the actual game, but one of the reasons for the NBA’s strong rise in popularity has to do with the character and fun the individual players bring to the league. Besides, some of Westbrook’s pre-game style choices may also have a few subliminal messages that are really fun to tweet about if last season was any indication.

Lastly, be sure to buy a program to get to know the new faces. Besides George and Anthony, the Thunder also signed NBA veterans Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson, as well as drafted Terrance Ferguson. Felton, a former top five pick, has been in the league for 13 seasons and will take over backup PG duties. Paterson is entering his 10th season in the NBA and is known for his defense and shooting ability. Ferguson was picked in the first round last June and is only 19 years old. Fun fact: Ferguson was born in Tulsa.  

The Thunder regular season begins Oct. 19 with a home game against the New York Knicks. You can check out the complete regular season schedule on the Thunder website.

basketball, live sporting events, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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A decade in OKC

OKC Thunder Fans

In case you didn’t already know this, Thunder fans are known for being some of the most passionate in the league, which didn’t just transpire by happenstance. In fact, OKC’s passion for basketball started even before the Thunder came to town with the New Orleans Hornets.

When the Hornets came to play temporarily in Oklahoma City due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the city embraced the idea of having an NBA team of their own. Thus, when the opportunity arose for a particular NBA team to relocate, OKC jumped on the opportunity and the Seattle SuperSonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

After the move to OKC, the Thunder drafted key players in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden, among others, in fostering their rise to NBA prominence. The Thunder made it to the NBA Finals for the first time in 2012. The Thunder have made the playoffs seven of their nine years in Oklahoma City and have had two players win the MVP award.

basketball, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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The G-League is back

With the start of Thunder basketball also comes the start of the regular season for the NBA G League (formerly known as the D League). In fact, one of the coolest things about the Thunder’s G League team, the Oklahoma City Blue, is the way in which they use it.

Brett Dawson from NewsOK highlight’s how the Thunder are adept at treating the OKC Blue as a Triple-A farm team in baseball and to a much greater extent than other NBA teams.

If you can’t make it to a Thunder game, an OKC Blue game is a great way to get in your basketball fix throughout the regular season. The OKC Blue kicks off the regular season with a home game against Rio Grande Valley on Friday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. Check out the full schedule here.

basketball, live sporting events, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The sporting life

You don’t have to live in Oklahoma City long to realize people here love their sports. Be it Thunder, Cowboys, Sooners, Energy, Dodgers or anything in between the people here are fanatic about their favorite teams. The Sporting Life section of our website gives you a great snapshot of athletics in the 4-0-5. Team sports not your bag? We (really Oklahoma City) have you covered. On the page you can also find info on golf courses, lakes, the Oklahoma River, running, cycling and more. Do you see something we missed? Be sure to let us know and we will get it added.

water sports, cycling, Dodgers, football, golf, live sporting events, OKC Energy, outdoor recreation, running, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Thundering up the new year in style Ö

Devon Ice Rink

Some might say that we here at Better Life Central suffer from Thunder-mania year-round and rightfully so. Anyone who’s seen the Thunder this season can attest to the excitement our boys in blue bring to the court each game. So of course we will be enjoying the game this New Year’s Eve as the Thunder take on the Los Angeles Clippers at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Find tickets here. Downtown restaurants including Park Avenue Grill, Flint, Mahogany Prime Steakhouse, Vast and many others will have special menus before and after the game to help you make sure that you and your special someone kick off 2017 with a bang.

Some of our favorite other places around town to ring in 2017:

And our resolution for 2017: keeping you – our loyal reader – in the know about all of the cool, hip happenings in OKC. Don’t hesitate to hit us up on Facebook or Twitter with questions or ideas. All our posts are also tagged by topic so you can easily find past blogs for information, everything from attractions to downtown and much more.

festivals, restaurants, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Heritage

OKC Thunder Fans

You’ve heard us talk about the history and heritage of OKC. Why not explore some of our rich heritage and maybe start a new tradition with your own family this holiday season? There’s no better place to get in the holiday spirit than in OKC.

Explore Oklahoma’s Native American culture at the Red Earth Treefest. Your family is sure to be amazed at 18 Christmas trees adorned with handmade ornaments from Oklahoma tribes including the Cheyenne and Arapaho, Chickasaw, Citizen Potawatomi, Comanche and Osage nations each showcasing the distinctive and diverse cultures of the Native nations and tribes that call our great state home. Or celebrate an old-fashioned Christmas tradition in style with a visit to Fort Reno’s Christmas Guns event. Traced back to German immigrants, legend has it that the loud noise produced by the firearms will dispel evil spirits before the upcoming holiday.

If you’re having a hard time finding your Christmas cheer, kick your inner elf into overdrive with festive lights around Oklahoma City and sounds of the season at the Lyric Theater and Civic Center Music Hall. For sports enthusiasts, Oklahoma City has plenty to offer this holiday season. The Oklahoma City Thunder plays at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Christmas day and New Year’s Eve. The OKC Blue also takes the court tonight as well as twice next week at the Cox Convention Center.

arts and culture, holiday, Oklahoma City history, theater, Thunder, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Itís Thunder season

Russell Westbrook shoots against Cavs (cropped)

In Russ we trust! With some new faces like Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Ersan Ilyasova and Alex Abrines joining our guys Westbrook, Adams, Kanter, Payne, Collison and the rest, OKC’s NBA hoopsters look to defend their Northwest Division title with the same old Thunder toughness and grit in head coach Billy Donovan’s second season. The Thunder tip off their 2016-17 campaign with preseason games across the pond (see below) and in Dallas and Tulsa, in addition to home games at Chesapeake Arena on Sunday, Oct. 16 vs. the Timberwolves and Tuesday, Oct. 18 vs the Nuggets. The regular season begins on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at Philadelphia, followed by the first home contest on Friday, Oct. 28 vs. Phoenix. After quite the tumultuous offseason, we’re just so glad actual basketball is finally back. Thunder Up!


basketball, live sporting events, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Letís rally in Thunder Alley

One of the coolest parts of coming downtown before a Thunder game (even if you don’t have tickets!) is the Thunder Alley experience, especially if you’ve got your little hoopsters in tow. Shoot some free throws, hear some tunes, bounce in an inflatable house, cavort with Rumble, or try out a number of other family-friendly pregame activities which await you just outside Chesapeake Energy Arena along Reno Avenue. Check here for a list of games that will be preceded by Thunder Alley early this season. We’ll see you there opening night, Friday Oct. 28.

basketball, family-friendly, festivals, free, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Preseason Spanish style

Xavi Pascual donant indicacions a l'equip
If you’ve been hearing shouts of “¡Thunder Arriba!” then you may already know that our hoops squad officially began their preseason campaign yesterday across the Atlantic on the Iberian Peninsula, taking on Real Madrid on their home court at the Barclaycard Center in the Spanish capital. Tomorrow, “El Thunder” face FC Barcelona at Palau Sant Jordi. New Thunder hoopster Alex Abrines’ former squad is one of the tops in the EuroLeague and will provide another great challenge to our guys, so tune in at 1:30 p.m. to get a dessert dose of hoops right after lunch.


Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Spring break camps cater to many interests and help with child care

If you have to work or want to stay closer to Oklahoma City, sign up your child for one of the area’s many spring break programs. Here are a few ideas, both for dropping off or participating with your children:

  • The Oklahoma City Zoo offers spring break day camps for children ages 4 to 11. You can go all week or select full days or half days (cost is $45 per day from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and $25 per day for 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). Kids will make tasty treats and deliver them each day to the animals, and the zoo will offer other ways to connect them with nature.
  • Sign your child up for Spring Break Science Camp at Science Museum Oklahoma, located in the Adventure District next to the zoo. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, elementary school kids will make things that fly; get dirty with chemistry, bugs and slime; play with water and more on different adventures each day. Cost for the week is $225 for members and $250 for nonmembers, but spots fill up quickly and as of this post, first through third grade slots are already full. But check out other activities at the museum as well.
  • The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63, is offering spring break activities that include weaving, metalworking, water color and more from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 14-18. It is free with museum admission.
  • The Myriad Botanical Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City is offering Spring Break Pop-Ins from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays from March 8 through 17. They’ll feature walk-up activities that include garden crafts, planting seeds or going on a scavenger hunt. Cost is a suggested $2 donation per child.
  • Oklahoma Contemporary is offering Spring Arts Camps over two sessions, March 7-11 and March 14-18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Tuition is $170 and $40 more if your child needs an extended time there. Depending on the age and session they choose, students will create sci-fi videos, create art projects based on a space theme, explore art and music, work with clay and more.
  • The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is offering spring break arts camps from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15-18 (Tuesday through Friday). Some are sold out, but children ages 6- to 8 can work with color and abstraction, while 9- to 12-year-olds will be photographing downtown.
  • The Lyric Theatre Thelma Gaylord Academy is offering Spring Break Theatre Camps from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 14 to 18 for the second through eighth grades. Cost is $225.
  • In the Boathouse District, kids ages 8 to 15 can take part in its Spring Break Adventure Camps either at the Oklahoma River or at Lake Overholser. A half-day option is offered at the Oklahoma River, but full days are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Two of the city’s parks, Martin Park Nature Center and Will Rogers Gardens are offering a Natural Resources Camp on weekdays from March 7 to 18 for children ages 7 to 12. Cost is $275 for both sessions and $175 for a one-week session. Camp will run from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The first week will be at Will Rogers Gardens, 3400 NW 36; the second at Martin Park Nature Center, 5000 W Memorial Road.
  • Finally, look into the OKC Thunder Youth Basketball Camps, which is offering basketball workshops in different locations.

If you have a favorite local hangout for you and your children, check its website for spring break activities. Oklahoma City Public Schools are out for two weeks March 9-18, so some places offer two weeks of programs. Also, the local Metro Family Magazine has an even more comprehensive list of things to do throughout the metro. You can find all kinds of things to do each month at

Thunder, Adventure District, western heritage, arts and culture, zoo, basketball, Boathouse District, camps, downtown, kids, museums, spring break, theater
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Best of 2015

Happy trails to you 2015. While the past year was a banner one for Oklahoma City we think 2016 might top it. There is so much to look forward to as the MAPS 3 projects will continue to take shape, cranes will once again dot the downtown as new towers begin to change the skyline, new music venues will open, new retail will hit the market and who knows? Maybe we will even celebrate the Thunder with a championship parade come June.

This time of the year is filled with “Best of Lists.” Best of music, best of movies, best of television … you get the idea. So why not us? So here are our favorite posts of the past year. Below is a good example of what this blog is all about so you can easily share with your friends and show them why this blog is such a good and entertaining resource. Consider it a “Here-are-five-important-things-a-newbie-to-OKC-needs-to-know” list:

  • Oklahoma Standard- The bombing that happened in downtown Oklahoma City in 1995 forever changed not only our city but country. While it has had a lasting impact the citizens of OKC have not let it define our community. That was never more apparent than this year when we celebrated the 10th anniversary with the Oklahoma Standard campaign.
  • Make Our History Less of a Mystery- From Native American culture to the Land Run saying our region has a unique history would be an understatement. Luckily OKC has a handful of world-class museums that tell our story.
  • deadCENTER Film Festival- We love nothing more than showing off a side of OKC newcomers might not expect. The annual deadCENTER Film Festival is a perfect example of this.
  • Music is in our DNA- Spend any time here and you start to realize OKC can be a bit eclectic. We are little bit country and little bit rock ‘n’ roll (as the kids would say). Nothing exemplifies that more than the musicians who have called Oklahoma home. From the father of folk music to jazz legends, hippie rockers and country superstars, Oklahoma boosts a diverse music scene.
  • Mmm-Beer- Oklahoma City is home to a craft beer scene with breweries taking hope national (and sometimes international) awards.
beer, film, history, live music, MAPS, retail, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Thundering up the new year in style Ö

OKC Thunder game [Photo Credit: OKC Thunder]

[Photo Credit: OKC Thunder]

Some might say that we here at Better Life Central suffer from Thunder-mania year-round and rightfully so. Anyone who’s seen KD and Russ this season can attest to the star power of this duo. So of course we will be enjoying the game this New Year’s Eve as the Thunder take on the Phoenix Suns at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Find tickets here. Downtown restaurants including Park Avenue Grill, Flint, Mahogany Prime Steakhouse, Vast and many others will have special menus before and after the game to help you make sure that you and your special someone kick off 2016 with a bang.

Some of our favorite other places around town to ring in 2016:

Plaza District, restaurants, Thunder, Bricktown, downtown, festivals, live sporting events
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What are we thankful for? Sports

OKC Energy Player [Photo Credit: OKC Energy]

[Photo Credit: OKC Energy]

Crimson and Cream, Orange and Black, Blue and “Sunset” … no matter what color you pledge alliance to, it has been a year to be thankful for in the Sooner State (or Cowboy Nation). The football teams are making national waves, the Thunder just tipped off an exciting year and our local pro baseball and soccer teams got a taste of deep post-season runs. Check out some recent blog posts if you need a quick refresher on the joy (and sometimes agony) our local teams provide.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder- Injuries derailed an exciting Thunder team last season but a new coach and healthy team (knocking on all the wood in the world) has this looking like a year we won’t soon forget.
  • Oklahoma City Dodgers- The Dodgers wrapped up their inaugural season in OKC with a division title.
  • Oklahoma City Energy- In just two short years OKC’s soccer team has already developed a rabid fan base. The fan base was rewarded with a great season as the Energy advanced to the Western Conference finals.
  • Oklahoma City Blue- The Blue are starting their second season in Oklahoma City and the games are a great place to get a preview of future NBA talent.
  • Oklahoma Sooners- The Sooners have one of the most storied football programs in the country and are looking to add to their impressive trophy case this season. The basketball team is also nationally ranked to start the season.
  • Oklahoma State Cowboys- The Cowboys are in the winningest era in the program’s history. OSU will play OU this weekend with a potential conference championship on the line.
  • Small-College Football- The Sooners and Cowboys are not the only local colleges who play big-time football.
baseball, basketball, college, Dodgers, football, OKC Energy, soccer, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Forecast: You will be Thundering up

Kids cheering at the Thunder game

So, last year, eh? Remember that? Racked with injuries the Thunder fought tough to the bitter end and missed the playoffs by just one game. No one personified the fight of the team more than our man Russell Westbrook. Russ averaged 28.1 points, 8.6 assists, and 2.1 steals en route to winning the NBA scoring title, powering his way through an orbital fracture with his trademark toughness and competitive fire.

This year, however? Well, it’s a new year, baby. The team looks to be fully healthy and loaded to roll for the first time in what feels like a long time, while the overall talent level seems improved, top to bottom. The addition of scoring center Enes Kanter at the end of last season provided an instant spark on the offensive end and the team added former-4th overall pick Dion Waiters via trade mid-season, in addition to moves to obtain D.J. Augustin, Kyle Singler and Steve Novak. The questions in years past largely centered around where scoring outside of KD, Russ and Ibaka might come from. This year, the question is more of how the team will ultimately divide up shots, as overall scoring prowess has undoubtedly improved. How will all the new players mesh with a fully healthy Durant? Will defense take a hit with more Kanter and zero Perkins down low? How will new coach Billy Donovan’s “spread pick-and-roll” offensive system lend itself to NBA talent and competition? We’ll soon find out, as preseason games begin Oct. 7 in Minneapolis, while the regular season tips off Oct. 28 in Chesapeake Energy Arena vs. those pesky, ageless and heavily-accented San Antonio Spurs. We can’t wait!

basketball, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Arena annals

Aerial of arena construction

The Chesapeake Energy Arena, current home of the Oklahoma City Thunder, has a relatively short but interesting history. The seeds of the arena were first sown with the passage of the MAPS projects in December 1993. Construction commenced on May 11, 1999, with the design of the arena indicative of the minimum NBA and NHL standards of the time. Completed at a cost of only $89.2 million initially, the arena opened as the Ford Center on June 8, 2002 with a basketball seating capacity of 19,163. It hosted Britney Spears, the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, Paul McCartney and more over its first 12 months, in addition to the OKC Blazers hockey team.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina forced the New Orleans Hornets from their home and into the welcoming arms of OKC and the arena. For two seasons, Chris Paul, David West and coach Byron Scott led the “New Orleans / Oklahoma City Hornets” to newfound fan support and success on the court, unearthing the “Loud City” phenomenon and a strong demand for pro hoops in OKC at the same time.

In late 2007, relocation of the NBA franchise in Seattle to Oklahoma City became a legitimate possibility. The city council placed a temporary 1-cent sales tax on the ballot to begin at the conclusion of the “MAPS for Kids” program in order to fund upgrades intended to bring the arena up to current NBA standards (as well as construct a team practice facility) should the team indeed relocate. The measure was handily approved by the voters in March 2008, and the team was given the OK to relocate to OKC the next month.

Naming rights for the Oklahoma Ford Dealers expired in 2010, and the arena was known as “Oklahoma City Arena” until the next year, when it became known by its current moniker. Meanwhile, a multi-year renovation schedule had commenced. After the upgrades were complete, the basketball seating capacity stood at 18,203, but additional suites, restaurants, clubs, premium seating, lighting, sound, NBA-specific locker rooms and more were added, in addition to concourse and other public area renovations, as well as a new “front door” for the arena that faces the future Oklahoma City Boulevard alignment to the south.

The future looks bright for Chesapeake Energy Arena outside, inside, and on the court. Thunder Up!

basketball, concerts, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fun and games

For sports enthusiasts, Oklahoma City has plenty to offer this holiday season. The Oklahoma City Thunder plays at the Chesapeake Energy Arena tonight, Friday night and New Year’s Eve. The OKC Blue also takes the court on Friday at the Cox Convention Center. Don’t miss Family Fun Day as the OKC Barons take the ice to face the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday, Dec. 28. We can’t resist soft drinks and hot dogs and the opportunity to skate with the players following the game.  

basketball, hockey, live sporting events, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thundering Up and Onwards

Really looking to stay warm for the next couple of months? There is no place better to heat up than the Chesapeake Energy Arena during a Thunder game with 18,203 of your closest friends. If you are new to Oklahoma City, you don’t have to hang around long to realize the Thunder have taken the city and whole Sooner State by storm.

The 2014-2015 season just tipped off and it marks the seventh season of Thunder basketball in Oklahoma City. And what a seven years it has been. The Thunder has made the playoffs five straight years, including a trip to the NBA finals and three trips to the conference finals. The franchise will also be attempting to win their fifth-straight Northwestern Division Championship (Northwestern makes sense right?).  

The Thunder are led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Durant (better known as KD) is the reigning MVP of the NBA (seriously check out his MVP speech) and has made the All-NBA first team 5 times in his seven-year career. KD is not nice and is the baddest.

Westbrook (who we like to call Russ) is a three-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA selection. Russ also makes headlines off the court for his unique fashion style.

In all honesty, we could ramble on all day about the Thunder, Rumble, Ibaka and one of the best home court advantages in all of the NBA so we’ll stop. Just do yourself a favor, check out the home schedule and grab some tickets. You won’t be disappointed.

basketball, family-friendly, live sporting events, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Youíre My Boy Blue

A new addition to the metro’s landscape this year is the Oklahoma City Blue. After residing in Tulsa since 2005, the Thunder’s D-League affiliate will play this season in OKC at the Cox Convention Center.

Not familiar with the D-League? Here is a quick primer. The D-League is short for the NBA Development League, an 18-team league that serves as a development league for the NBA. The Blue are owned by their parent team, the Thunder, and serves as a place where young players can develop. So in short the Blue will offer a great chance to preview the NBA’s up-and-coming players. Not a bad way for hoops junkies to spend a night.

basketball, family-friendly, live sporting events, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thank You for Being a Friend

If you’ve got some long-distance friendships going on, now is the time to show them how much you care! Oklahoma City’s retail scene has plenty of options to please even the pickiest pal. Check out some ideas to get you started below!

Boathouse District, retail, shopping, Thunder, Western Avenue
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ho-Ho-Ho-Home Team

Christmas is pretty much here, and we’ll be eating a lot of food and spending quality time with loved ones. If you’re looking to liven up the time spent with your family, why not head downtown to cheer on the home team? Both the Barons and the Thunder have multiple home games left before the year is up. They even have home games on New Year’s Eve. What a way to ring in the New Year!

Check out the Barons and the Thunder schedules.   

family-friendly, hockey, live sporting events, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

If You Build it They Will Come

From raucous Thunder crowds to the biggest names in music, Chesapeake Energy Arena has been the epicenter for big league entertainment since its opening more than a decade ago. While the arena opened in 2002, its story traces back even further to 1993 with the passage of MAPS.

If you haven’t learned what MAPS is yet, here is a brief overview: in the early 90s OKC was looking to turn things and rebuild its economy after a bust cycle in the energy industry and a banking crisis. The citizens voted to tax themselves to build nine projects that would help raise the quality of life in the metro area. In the two decades since, MAPS has spurred billions in private investment and kicked off a modern day renaissance in OKC.

No project has exemplified Oklahoma City’s can-do attitude like the arena. The Ford Center (as it was called when it opened – today you know it as the Chesapeake Energy Arena) seated more than 19,000 and was designed to NHL or NBA specifications. Some mocked the idea and said OKC was wasting time and money to build an NBA-quality arena. At the time the thought of NBA basketball in OKC was a pie-in-the-sky dream to even the most dedicated sports fans. Still, the citizens knew that if the opportunity arose, OKC would be ready to capitalize.

After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans) needed a home while their arena was repaired. Oklahoma City was one of the few cities that had an NBA arena ready to go, so the Hornets temporarily moved to OKC for two seasons and the rest was history. OKC’s support of the team blew away even the most optimistic supporters and proved Oklahoma City was a big league city.  The Thunder relocated and just four years later the arena that some thought shouldn’t even get built was hosting an NBA finals. 

basketball, MAPS, music, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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