Oklahoma City reaches preliminary lease agreement with Sonics - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Oklahoma City reaches preliminary lease agreement with Sonics

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The Seattle SuperSonics and Oklahoma City have reached a preliminary agreement on a lease at the Ford Center pending NBA approval of the team's relocation.

The 15-year deal calls for the team to pay the city $1.6 million annually for use of the building and reimburse $409,000 per year to replace revenue from naming rights for the arena currently paid by local Ford car dealerships.

Oklahoma City manager Jim Couch said the city had to make some concessions to the Sonics that wouldn't have been included in leases with larger cities.

Sonics owner Clay Bennett agreed to terms of the deal in a letter to Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett yesterday. It will be introduced to the City Council on Tuesday and go up for a vote on March 25th, the same day commissioner David Stern and members of the NBA relocation committee will visit the Ford Center.

The deal would not become official unless NBA team owners approve the Sonics' relocation in a meeting on April 17-18 in New York and until the team can escape its lease in Seattle that runs through 2010.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)