Ford CenterAfter breaking ground in the Spring of 1999, construction began on the new downtown arena funded by MAPS, Oklahoma City’s visionary capital improvement program to finance new and upgraded sports, entertainment, cultural and convention facilities with a one-cent sales tax. The 581,000-square-foot facility was designed to meet National Hockey League requirements. The state-of-the art venue was completed at a cost of $89.2 million and opened its doors on June 8, 2002. The Grand Opening Celebration included a dedication ceremony led by former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, as well as a special "Open House" event for the entire community.
Oklahoma City voters overwhelmingly approved a one-cent sales tax on March 4, 2008 to fund major upgrades to the Ford Center and build an off-site practice facility for an NBA franchise. The 15-month tax took effect on January 1, 2009 and will expire March 31, 2010. Plans include a new grand entrance, multistory atrium, new restaurants, clubs, concession areas, bunker suites, loge boxes, roof top gardens, locker rooms, a warm-up basketball court, team offices and a family fun zone.
Ford Center is owned by the City of Oklahoma City and managed by SMG, which since 1977 has provided management services to over 200 public assembly facilities including arenas, stadiums, theatres and performing arts centers, and convention, congress and exhibition centers. With facilities across the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, Europe and the Middle East, SMG manages more than 11 million square feet (1.1 million square meters) of exhibition space. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides construction and design consulting, pre-opening services, venue management, sales, marketing, event booking, and programming. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through an in house catering company, Savor…Catering by SMG, currently servicing 65 accounts worldwide. In Oklahoma City, SMG not only manages Ford Center, but the neighborhing Cox Convention Center.