Chesapeake Energy Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon is planning to donate proceeds he collects as part-owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder from an arena naming rights agreement between the company and the team.
The deal, detailed in a recently released corporate proxy statement, reports McClendon has a 19.2 percent ownership in the team, which stands to collect more than $34 million from Chesapeake for advertising, sponsorship and the arena naming rights.
Under the 12-year naming rights agreement, Chesapeake pays the Thunder $3 million the first year, with a 3 percent annual escalation clause for each year thereafter. The agreement includes Chesapeake branding throughout the building including on the basketball court, prominent premium placement on the high-definition scoreboard and new state-of-the-art interior and exterior digital signage.
The agreement, announced in July, also continues to guarantee an annual payment of $402,000 to Oklahoma City from the naming rights proceeds.
McClendon declined interview requests about the arrangement, but a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission reports he “has committed to make annual charitable contributions for the benefit of Oklahoma schools equal to his percentage ownership of the Thunder (19.2 percent) times the fees paid by the company under the naming rights agreement for at least each of the first two seasons covered by the
The statement does not disclose any plans to donate proceeds beyond the first two years of the agreement, the identity of the beneficiaries or whether they will be identified in future filings.
Christy Watson, spokeswoman for the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, confirmed to The Oklahoman that both McClendon and Chesapeake Energy have been longtime donors, with annual newsletters showing McClendon as a donor in 2001, 2004 and 2008. The reports show 2008 as the last year McClendon made a personal donation, which totaled more than $10,000. He also served on the foundation's board from 2001 to 2009.
Chesapeake, meanwhile, is an annual donor and helped establish the foundation's Jean Gumerson scholarship that assists teachers in obtaining National Board Certification.