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City, state officials work on incentives for NBA

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By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

City and state leaders are taking action to encourage the NBA Board of Governors to approve relocation of the Seattle SuperSonics.

The board will vote Friday on the relocation request by Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett to relocate his team the Sooner sate.

The Oklahoma City Council approved the 15-year-lease for the Ford Center and the lease for the practice facility on Tuesday. Meanwhile, state legislators debated a tax incentive package for the team. The bill passed the Senate Tuesday and headed to the House.

"We feel really good about it, but we'll feel better about it when it's over and it's completed," Mayor Mick Cornett said.

Officials estimate revenue from rent and the naming rights will total nearly $2.2 million dollars, the first year.

"To a certain extent it just continues us on the path we started back in 1993 when we voted for MAPS," Cornett said. "We were trying to become a big league city and Friday's vote could be one significant step toward a team actually playing games here."

At the request of the team, state legislators are working on an economic incentive package for the team.

Speaker of the House Chris Benge wrote a bill to give the Sonics $4 million in income tax rebates a year. 

"We're hoping that we can show support from the state level," he said.

The bill was approved by the Senate and is headed to the House.

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