In addition to the NBA, city officials said the improvements would make the Ford Center more competitive when bidding for the Big 12 basketball tournament, major concerts and other events.
If the proposal is approved but for some reason the NBA decides not to relocate a team to Oklahoma City, the Ford Center improvements would go ahead as planned, though a practice facility wouldn't be built. The sales tax would be shortened from 15 months to 12 months.
If voters decide no ...
Mayor Mick Cornett has said the city will not get an NBA team if the measure fails.
Cornett said there is no plan B for funding Ford Center improvements, and convincing NBA owners to allow a relocation to Oklahoma City would be impossible without voter support of arena improvements.
The Sonics likely will leave Seattle regardless of Oklahoma City's vote, but many observers believe other cities with new arenas such as Kansas City or Louisville would be more likely destinations if the Oklahoma City proposal fails.
The MAPS for Kids sales tax expires Dec. 31. Unless voters OK a new tax measure, the sales tax rate would go down by 1 cent starting Jan. 1.
City officials worry a failed proposal would endanger momentum the city has gained from MAPS and MAPS for Kids. Voter approval for those measures is credited with getting the city into NBA discussions in the first place.
Oklahoma City could still bid for college basketball tournaments and other events, but the Ford Center would have a hard time competing with newer arenas in Dallas, Kansas City and Tulsa, among other places.