Skip to main content

OKC Blue: Oklahoma City Blue In Possible Search of New Arena Amid Talks With G League

The NBA G League would like the Oklahoma City Blue in a new venue.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

The Oklahoma City Blue may be in search of a new arena.

In a two-hour, 13-minute press conference held by Sam Presti on Monday, the Thunder GM took questions up until there were simply no more to be asked.

Amidst Presti’s discussion with the media, he answered a plethora of questions ranging from Summer League plans, the process of rebuilding, and the team’s outlook leading into next year. However, arguably one of the biggest questions of the day did not fall under any of those aforementioned categories. It didn’t even come from Thunder grounds.

In a question related to the Oklahoma City Thunder and their G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, sharing home arenas, Sam Presti revealed that it's unclear where the Blue will play next season.

“Yes, [the proximity helps] absolutely. We have a challenge on our hands because the NBA, or the G League, doesn’t want us playing in our arena next year. You know, conversation probably not for the public, but like it is an NBA arena, so it should be good enough for the G League. But, I don’t get into that.

To me, development is about players. It’s about what’s best for the players. We have NBA facilities, everyone loves playing in our facilities, the hotel is right there. I understand the G League has a view on how they want to be perceived, but I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the environment for our players because we don’t have enough people in the stands. I get it. We’re trying to get more people in there for G League games if that’s the key. But the G League is for development and to help our parent team be ready for that. That’s how I look at it – I’ll fill you in once we know exactly how that’s going to go.

We gotta find a solution there. We’re not a major metropolitan city where there’s a million small venues everywhere. And we have designs on maybe potentially doing something locally where we build our own G League facility. But we can’t do that – execute a plan like that that’d be great for the community – if we’re renting everywhere.”

The Oklahoma City Blue stood as the lone NBA G League team to play in an NBA arena in the 2021-22 season – sharing the Paycom Center with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The franchises shared the arena 15 times throughout the season, with 16 Blue home games starting no later than noon.

As a brand, the NBA G League has expanded its horizons tenfold in the last few seasons. Notably, their implementation of the G League Ignite has sparked newfound interest, while the rise of basketball content through social media has helped to surface a market for the NBA G League.

This season, the Blue were one of a select few teams to rock their NBA team’s logo at center court, having their only key branding being a retractable OKC Blue-themed wall. Alongside branding, the Blue’s early tip-off times were a primary cause for lower-ranking attendance rates.

Prior to playing at the Paycom Center, the Oklahoma City Blue had held home games at the Cox Convention Center, a venue across the street, since 2014. However, the convention center had been purchased and contracted by Prairie Surf Studios in January of last year – effectively ruling the venue out of the equation.

Sam Presti has been vocal about the benefits of keeping the G League close to the Thunder far beyond Monday’s press conference. With player development being an integral part of the franchise, Presti acknowledged the idea of constructing their own venue for games. Though, nothing is set and stone.

The NBA G League is expected to begin in October.