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Thunder to now play in Chesapeake Energy Arena

Milwaukee Bucks v Oklahoma City Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY - OCTOBER 29: Fans walk past the exterior of the Ford Center before the Milwaukee Bucks and the Oklahoma City Thunder play on opening night at the Ford Center October 29, 2008 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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The Thunder have gone from gasoline to cleaner burning natural gas.

Sort of. The building Kevin Durant and teammates call home had been called the Ford Center since the team came to OKC based on an older naming rights deal. But with the new tenants and attention the building’s operators went looking for a new naming rights sponsor.

Enter Chesapeake Energy and hence the building is now formally called the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Like all such buildings, there will probably be a nickname for it soon enough (Cleveland’s Quicken Loan Arena is called The Q, and so on).

Chesapeake Energy is a 22-year-old company that is one of the largest natural gas companies in the nation. It is based out of Oklahoma City.

The deal is for $3 million a year for 12 years (with the amount increasing slightly each year), which is not bad in a smaller market like OKC.