The Oklahoma City Thunder’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers, will be moving to Oklahoma City, the Thunder announced today.
The 66ers have played home games the last two seasons at the SpiritBank Event Center in Bixby, Okla., but team officials were notified recently that the facility will no longer offer arena space for lease. The move will take place prior to the start of the D-League regular season, which begins in mid-November and extends through early April.
“Our two seasons in Bixby were successful and we were pleased to be there, but circumstances 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 officer 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," Barth said. "We offer our sincere thanks to the communities of Tulsa and Bixby, and to all of the 66ers fans and sponsors in the area for their loyal support over the past few years.”
The Professional Basketball Club, LLC, which owns the Thunder, purchased the 66ers in 2008.
Thunder officials are currently in discussions with the City of Oklahoma City to play the team’s 24 regular-season home games at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, directly across the street from Chesapeake Energy Arena. Along with the move of the team, the business and basketball operations of the D-League team will also relocate to Oklahoma City. The team will train at the Thunder Community Events Center in Edmond, the original training home of the Thunder from 2008-11. The move of the 66ers is subject to NBA D-League approval.
The Thunder will continue to commit resources to the growth of basketball and connect with the fan base in the Tulsa area.
“Through our ticket and merchandise sales and TV ratings, we know the Thunder has tremendous, loyal and passionate fans in the Tulsa area,” Barth said. “We will continue to devote our attention and resources to sustaining and growing that support.”
For the sixth time, the Thunder will play a preseason game at the BOK Center in Tulsa, meeting the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, Oct. 19.