Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

Big League City?

In the minutes of grueling research I do for this website, I ran across the YouTube video you can watch above. I have no idea who had the access to, or had the idea to upload a forty-year old commercial related to a local bond issue. That said, thank you “Silentsensei.”

For one, I learned that people who voted before my parents were eligible to cast ballots changed the course of this city. In Yessing ’em all, our forefathers (and I guess mothers since this was post-suffrage) made it where I can partake in drinking water. I like water. They improved the sewer systems. I like not smelling feces. It also created the Northwest Expressway and expanded many major roads of this city from two to four lanes. I like not sitting in traffic. After seeing this commercial, I wondered what our fair city would look like if the residents of that time had No’ed ’em all….probably a bit like the Oklahoma City portrayed in Saving Grace.

Oklahoma City’s next chance to leap forward comes March 4th. This campaign slogan is not as catchy or instructive as yes ’em all, but Big League City does have some merit. As my public service to you, I will rattle off the talking points.

  • Approving the measure will put Oklahoma City in the competitive advantage to attracting an NBA franchise.

I saw a guy on the news one night saying that OKC is at the top of the relocation list and arguing that we can’t be “topper.” Keep in mind that just because the Sonics have already requested a move to our fair town, it is not guaranteed the request will be approved by the league’s relocation committee. Nothing says the NBA has to move teams. The reason the NBA is even considering the leave a world renowned city like Seattle is that the city has been deemed hostile in any efforts to make the team profitable. (For the record, Sonics owner Aubrey McClendon has suggested their ownership would consider “breaking even” in Oklahoma City as a bonus–the rest of the league owners, who participate in revenue sharing probably expect more.) Voting down this measure could be seen as transferring the team from one bad environment to another.

  • Attracting an NBA team will be a boon to the city’s economy

Mayor Mick’s office estimates that the two partial season’s that this city hosted the Hornets boosted the economy to the tune of $130 million. Considering that this tax will raise around $120MM and the Sonics would be playing full seasons, that would be an awfully quick payoff. Of course, that does not consider that the work for the Ford Center will also be done locally, so the money stays in town.

  • Being the home to an NBA franchise would boost the image of the city, making it more attractive to potential employers

Here are two lists of cities, which list do you think most people include Oklahoma City on right now?

List 1 (Major League Cities):
New York City, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Miami, FL

List 2 (Minor League Cities):
Des Moines, IA
Boise, ID
Yakima, WA

I would have to say that right now, most people would put OKC on list two. Maybe it is a stretch to say that hosting an NBA franchise would rocket us up to List 1, but it would get us associated with them. Maybe we would still have to deal with ribbing like Salt Lake City, Sacramento, or even Green Bay–and yes, we are lower on the consciousness of the rest of the world than Green Bay–do as small major league cities, but at least then we are in the game. Seeing our city on the crawl of ESPN (something we can’t even get on CNN when they scroll the weather of major cities) is free advertising that makes it much easier for Mayor Mick to get prospective businesses on the line.

  • The Ford Center would become a state of the art facility

I have it on high authority that the Ford Center’s original construction was done on the cheap. At the time, it made sense. It would have been very difficult to justify adding amenities to a facility without an anchor tenant. No sports franchise (outside of the Blazers) had given the city any reason to believe we were a consideration for expansion or relocation. That has changed, obviously. Converting the Ford from a cookie cutter building to a world class arena makes it that much more attractive for larger conventions, tournaments (such as for the Big XII), and concert promoters.

  • Voting “Yes” will not raise taxes

Sure some people, like Tony, will suggest that forgoing a tax cut is the same as a tax increase. I call those people nitpickers. Others will say that this money should go toward better things, like infrastructure. To them I say, it will. Hear me out. First of all, there is a halo effect that relates to getting a major sporting franchise. There will be the direct jobs it creates, then the jobs created due to related businesses (apparel sales, improved restaurant traffic, et cetera), and benefits from the money that will be flowing. That improves tax collection which reduces the necessity of hitting up the citizens for fund raising.

Plus, most states that host professional athletics institute a tax geared specifically toward the athletes who come through town. I see no reason why Oklahoma would not follow that trend. So, say they hit the players with a minimal 1% tax on the wages they earn while playing in the Ford Center. For a player like Shaquille O’Neal, who would come through town two to three times a year, earning $244,000 per game that comes out to almost $7,500 of revenue from one player. Running some very rudimentary calculations based on the average payrolls, I think such a tax would gross approximately $1.4MM a year in revenue for the city. That does not even consider if their earnings would require them to file a state tax return where they would be taxed at an even higher rate. Getting that kind of coin year after year in perpetuity builds a lot of roads and bridges.

For those of you still unconvinced, I have come up with a list of the things you could spend the money you will save should the temporary replacement tax fail:


I contemplated making a list of things like:  “Supersizing your value meal every tenth visit to McDonalds”, but the truth is above.  If you are really concerned about paying this tax, do what Patrick does and do all your shopping in Warr Acres, or be like Tony and purchase everything–including toilet paper–on eBay.  Because…

You don’t want to live in a two lane town in a four lane world. Do you?


  1. You forgot Memphis, Sacramento, Charlotte and New Orleans on your list of “major league cities.” Yes, we must give Aubrey McClendon and Clay Bennett a $100 million handout in order to show them we are suckers, not a “bad environment.” Clark, wake the hell up.

  2. I agree with Walleye. This is such a farce. What a waste of tax payer money. There are much better ways to spend our money than to throw it away like this.

  3. What pisses me off is all the people who do not live in OKC, thinking that they should have a voice on this. It is none of their business. Just like the Texas Presidential Primary on Tuesday is none of my business, I will watch the results, in Texas, but that is it.
    If you want to have a voice on this, move out of Warr Acres or Norman

  4. I’d be proud for Oklahoma City to be compared with Charlotte. Charlotte is second only to New York City in the number of banking and financial corporations that base their operations in their market. And they have 3 major league teams.



  5. I just don’t get the “throwing away money” argument. Is an investment “throwing away money”? It’s a short term expense for a long term revenue source. And part of the beauty of this is that people who don’t live in the city will end up financing it when they come into town and purchase from our stores, restaurants, and so on.

    As for Walleye, maybe if you read a little closer: Maybe we would still have to deal with ribbing like Salt Lake City, Sacramento, or even Green Bay”“and yes, we are lower on the consciousness of the rest of the world than Green Bay”“do as small major league cities, but at least then we are in the game.

  6. Clark, what do you think of Hitchcock, Oklahoma? And how do you believe it compares with some of the cities you listed?

  7. You should be posting Ron Artest highlights instead of giving 15 more minutes of fame to some old lady and that dude with the bong and big-breasted women. People would definitely vote yes on March 4.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass all about all that other stuff. I want some NBA in OKC. I wanna see Ron Artest and other guys almost as good like Lebron, D Wade, Kobe and Kevin Garnett.

    OKC can be big league like Sacramento. Vote yes so we don’t be a loser city like Des Moines. Wouldn’t it be cool if some fans in OKC throw stuff at Ron Artest and then Ron Artest goes in the Ford Center stands to kick some ass. Ron Artest in the improved Ford Center stands. Nothing would be greater.

  8. I wanted to buy a house, but the wealthy bank had the nerve to charge me interest on my mortgage!!!!!
    Sorry suckers, I’ll sleep in a trashcan before you get my money.

  9. Suckers, are you not aware that the Hornets can leave New Orleans and get out of their contract if their avg home attendance for the year is below 12,000? Ya don’t think George Shinn wants to get the heck out of town? And where do you think he’d like to go? All I’m saying suckers, is that if Aubrey and Clay (very very very rich SOB’s) can afford to buy the team they can certainly afford to pay for upgrades to that decrepit, aging 5-year old Ford Center.

    PS. The Carolina Hurricanes play in Raleigh.

  10. People, people, people…

    Get a grip here. Can’t you all see the value in this blog entry?

    It is the fact that Tulsa is still running these ads for most of their streets such as 71st and Memorial and whatever street that is in front of Utica Square…

    Plus it’s from Clark Matthews and not titled Justice League 7.73.

    Actually, the small-time aspect of OKC is really shining through with some of you.

    And by the way MarkB, have you ever heard of a thing called Mathis Brothers where guys from Norman drive 30 minutes to go and get harassed by sales clerks so they can get a new dinette set to make the little lady happy?

    okay, so maybe there’s no little lady, but the next chick I can pick up in a bar and bring home will certainly be impressed by the leather appointments on my parsons dining room chairs and the buffet/hutch combo in a striking dark cherry finish…

    I’m certainly not going to spend my money for over-priced furniture at Mister Roberts so I can help fund free furniture for The Locker Room so Mike Steely can continue living in the style he’s grown accustomed.

  11. Lay of Wanda Jo – she used to come over to my Garret Morgan parties and hit it with Stevo Hunt and me. Man, those parties got wild when that David dude with the sunglasses pasted on his head and that indicted County Commissioner Shirley Darrel were there. Seeing blue hairs toked up is pretty cool.

  12. Walleye, If you think David Stern would let Shinn out of New Orleans, you are sorely mistaken.

  13. OKC is basically a truck stop/industrial park where Dust Bowlers and farm refugees have created a sort of makeshift shantytown. Only the grandiosity of narcissistic progressives could create the fantasy that “The City” could ever be thought of as something other than a trailer-infested tornado target for people too poor and ignorant to move. The “no” voters have it right on this one. Protect the heritage of the OKC identity; vote no, be tight and negative with an attitude! Get ready folks, Walmart has a big rollback coming!

  14. Please don’t think too harshly of bajaokie. He wasn’t raised to think that way. He’s had a sour disposition every since his daddy got him wearing his sisters dresses. Oh and by the way we’re actually from Renton, Wa. the armpit of Seattle.

  15. Internet bogies! I should have known I was putting out troll bait. As for sour dispositions, don’t hang your trip on me. Every theory is a confession.

  16. Come on now. Jimi Hendrix is buried in Renton, Washington.

    That makes at least one reason someone would want to visit. Oh, and the chick’s basketball team.

  17. I went to the first meeting of the Wanda Jo Peltier-Stspleton fan club, and I have never seen so much blue hair in my life.

  18. Hmmmmm. Hand over 120 million for improvements to a downtown facility that will continue the downtown growth pattern or hand over 120 million to infrastructure improvements so that Ideal Homes, Home Creations and other developers can continue to create more overpriced, cheaply built housing in Oklahoma City and not pay for their own development?

    Jeez, if I had a vote, I know what I’d be voting for.

  19. What i don’t understand is why the money the Ford Center already takes in isn’t paying for the upgrades.

    That is just like the government, they originally told us that the Ford center would increase growth downtown and it has, but when politicians get involved they take that extra money and spend more.

    I believe that if the bond is defeated an NBA team may still be possible, politicians will just have to spend our money more wisely.

    And it does not just cost you a penny, it’s about $10 per month per person for 15 months.

  20. Wanda Jo Peltier-Stapleton has made some very important points about why citizens should vote no. I was on the ‘yes’ side for a while until I found out how much each resident will have to pay annually. Oklahoma City has more pressing issues than landing a basketball team lured here via some corporate welfare scam dreamed up by rich guys. Go see the Mavs if you’re so anxious to catch some courtside antics.

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