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Hornets, state announce agreement to keep team in N.O. thru 2024


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#1 B-Rich

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 14:06

Just announced. The agreement will include funding for upgrades to the New Orleans Arena and eliminate all exit options, attendance benchmarks, and financial inducements. Compared to the current lease, the terms will save the state at least $72 million in operating subsidies over the life of the lease, and no new taxes will be required to fund any aspect of the proposed agreement.

Full Press Release.

New owner will probably also be announced shortly. Despite the rumors that an out-of-state group backed by former WLAF Orland Thunder owner Raj Bhathal was the lead, I have a strong suspicion that the owner will wind up being former minority owner (and local) Gary Schouest, owner of Edison Schouest Offshore. I also surmise that the both the new lease and ownership deals, although not being announced currently, were being worked in tandem.
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#2 DaytonBlue

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 14:17

Congrats to NOLA.

So if the Kings arena gets worked out, are all the teams' situations settled? (And I know people want to say Memphis is moving next but they have a lease through 2021 which to break would require the team to pay off the debt on FedExForum, a debt that still has over $100 million to go. Attendance is also up 5% and their attendance rank went from 27th to 21st.)

If all the teams are settled and this guy wanting to build an arena in Seattle means business, does the NBA think about expanding?
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#3 MBurmy

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 14:19

So if the Kings arena gets worked out, are all the teams' situations settled? (And I know people want to say Memphis is moving next but they have a lease through 2021 which to break would require the team to pay off the debt on FedExForum, a debt that still has over $100 million to go. Attendance is also up 5% and their attendance rank went from 27th to 21st.)

If all the teams are settled and this guy wanting to build an arena in Seattle means business, does the NBA think about expanding?


Not unless ALL are settled...remember, the Bucks still have a great deal of uncertainty regarding a new arena in Milwaukee...

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#4 Raymie

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 14:19

If all the teams are settled and this guy wanting to build an arena in Seattle means business, does the NBA think about expanding?


The NBA has no business expanding. It's like a guy with indigestion eating the next table of food. Bad idea.

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#5 RedSox44

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 14:22

Seriously, I'm all for advocating the return of the NBA to Seattle, but expansion is not what this league needs. Competition is already watered down enough in the NBA.
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#6 Fox

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 14:34

Seriously, I'm all for advocating the return of the NBA to Seattle, but expansion is not what this league needs. Competition is already watered down enough in the NBA.

+1

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#7 sportstar1212

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 14:39


Seriously, I'm all for advocating the return of the NBA to Seattle, but expansion is not what this league needs. Competition is already watered down enough in the NBA.

+1

+2

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#8 zpqmaowl

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 14:49



Seriously, I'm all for advocating the return of the NBA to Seattle, but expansion is not what this league needs. Competition is already watered down enough in the NBA.

+1

+2

+3

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#9 DarkJourney

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 14:51

I guess Seattle can always go after the Bucks

#10 Gothamite

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 15:05

I guess Seattle can always go after the Bucks

And I would expect them to.

#11 the admiral

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 15:13

If this saves the state a lot of money in subsidies, then it's a great move! That's always been my objection, not the mere presence of the NBA in New Orleans in and of itself.
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#12 frosty06306

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 15:28

Anybody think the new owner will possibly rename the team to reenergize the franchise with a fresh start?
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#13 DustDevil61

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 16:18

Anybody think the new owner will possibly rename the team to reenergize the franchise with a fresh start?


I wouldn't put anything past them, but please, no Hornets/Jazz/Grizzlies/etc. swapping business.

As for this deal, the Hornets have their work cut out for them if they want to get the fans back; Sportscenter commentators mentioned it when they played the Bobcats (I think) recently. You know you have problems when the team is league-owned and someone from ESPN, always aware of its image, says something about it.

As for Seattle, I'd wager that the next teams in line are Milwaukee and Memphis. The Grizzlies, if I'm not mistaken, have an opt-out come 2015, and if they can't replicate their run last year (or stay close and competitive), then it wouldn't be that much of a stretch.

#14 pmoehrin

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 16:23


Anybody think the new owner will possibly rename the team to reenergize the franchise with a fresh start?


I wouldn't put anything past them, but please, no Hornets/Jazz/Grizzlies/etc. swapping business.


They should trade names with the Jazz but no I don't think any name changes are in store.

If they had an image issue I could see it but they don't.

#15 CubsFanBudMan

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 16:37

So when did the lease expire? Is this an example of a team (or in this case, league) that holds all the cards (benchmarks, attendance requirements, etc.) giving in because they truly wanted to keep the franchise in its current location?

#16 DaytonBlue

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 19:21


Anybody think the new owner will possibly rename the team to reenergize the franchise with a fresh start?


I wouldn't put anything past them, but please, no Hornets/Jazz/Grizzlies/etc. swapping business.

As for this deal, the Hornets have their work cut out for them if they want to get the fans back; Sportscenter commentators mentioned it when they played the Bobcats (I think) recently. You know you have problems when the team is league-owned and someone from ESPN, always aware of its image, says something about it.

As for Seattle, I'd wager that the next teams in line are Milwaukee and Memphis. The Grizzlies, if I'm not mistaken, have an opt-out come 2015, and if they can't replicate their run last year (or stay close and competitive), then it wouldn't be that much of a stretch.


They do have an opt-out, but it's not easy. From a Geoff Calkins column in the Commercial Appeal a few years ago...

"Even then, the city and county have the right to step in and buy enough tickets or suites to meet the minimums.

But say the city and county pass on that one. Say someone wants to buy the team and move it out of town. The city and county would still have the opportunity to find a local buyer to match the purchase price.

The hurdles are starting to stack up, aren't they, Velma? And we haven't even started talking about money yet.

Any out-of-town buyer would also have to pay off the debt service on FedExForum, a number that doesn't dip below $100 million until 2015. And the buyer would have to pay back FedEx for a portion of the naming rights.

And the buyer would have to get the NBA's approval and pay the NBA's relocation fee, which would surely be a good deal more than the $25 million the Grizzlies had to pay to leave Vancouver.

Translation: The team isn't moving anytime soon. It's just not. In this time of finger-pointing and misery, it seems important to recognize that."

Yes they could move eventually, but not in 2015. And the attendance benchmark is 14,900. The Grizz are averaging 15,410 this year. Memphis will always be a stretch to make the NBA work simply because of the population and income, but I think it will.
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#17 pmoehrin

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Posted March 16, 2012 - 19:40

Yes they could move eventually, but not in 2015. And the attendance benchmark is 14,900. The Grizz are averaging 15,410 this year. Memphis will always be a stretch to make the NBA work simply because of the population and income, but I think it will.


They got alot going against them.

Only Utah and New Orleans are smaller markets in terms of total population. Only OKC has a lower GDP, and Memphis ranks 20th out of the 27 US markets in terms of GDP per capita.

That's on top of their short losing history and direct competition from an already established Memphis Tigers basketball program.

Tough situation to be in.

#18 illwauk

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Posted March 17, 2012 - 11:26


So if the Kings arena gets worked out, are all the teams' situations settled? (And I know people want to say Memphis is moving next but they have a lease through 2021 which to break would require the team to pay off the debt on FedExForum, a debt that still has over $100 million to go. Attendance is also up 5% and their attendance rank went from 27th to 21st.)

If all the teams are settled and this guy wanting to build an arena in Seattle means business, does the NBA think about expanding?


Not unless ALL are settled...remember, the Bucks still have a great deal of uncertainty regarding a new arena in Milwaukee...


This, and Herb Kohl is retiring, which means he doesn't have to worry about a voter backlash if whoever he sells the Bucks to wants to move them.

Personally, this former fan will gladly tell Bango not to let the door hit him in the arse on the way out if the Bucks do leave town.

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#19 DarkJourney

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Posted March 17, 2012 - 23:24

Well here we go again:

Dodgers bidder Michael Heisley considers selling Grizzlies to Larry Ellison

By Bill Shaikin
March 17, 2012, 2:24 p.m.
Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley, one of the four finalists vying to buy the Dodgers, said Saturday he has had discussions about selling his NBA team to billionaire Larry Ellison.

"I can't downplay it enough," Heisley told the Memphis Commerical Appeal. "If it happens I?ll be surprised."

The discussions were confirmed by The Times, according to people familiar with the sale process. The potential sale of the Grizzlies could raise the stakes in the final bidding for the Dodgers.

Heisley said the talks with Ellison were in "initial stages." He is asking $350 million for the Grizzlies, which has been on the market for several years.

"If they're real buyers, we'll probably be sellers," Heisley told the Commercial Appeal.

If Heisley can conclude the Grizzlies deal soon, he could use some or all of the sales price to boost his bid for the Dodgers. The current high bid is believed to be about $1.6 billion, with Heisley and partner Tony Ressler of Los Angeles-based Ares Capital at about $1.3 billion.

The deal might also put Heisley in the best position of any of the Dodgers bidders to launch a regional sports network, depending on the future of the Grizzlies.

Ellison, the billionaire founder and chief executive of software giant Oracle, makes his primary residence in Northern California. In 2010, he bid unsuccessfully for the Golden State Warriors. If he were to buy the Grizzlies, he might look to move them to San Jose -- or to San Francisco, and into a new arena near AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

However, Ellison also owns several properties in Malibu, and he owns the BNP Paribas Open, the premier tennis tournament in Southern California.

If Ellison were to move the Grizzlies to Anaheim -- and if Heisley were to win the bidding for the Dodgers -- the two men could launch a regional sports network anchored by baseball in the summer and basketball in the winter.

None of the other remaining Dodgers bidders -- hedge-fund billionaire Steven Cohen; St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke; and a group led by Magic Johnson and veteran baseball executive Stan Kasten -- has the ability to add an NBA team to a potential Dodgers channel at this time.

In addition, the Ducks' contract with Fox Sports expires in 2014, which would make possible a cable channel with the Dodgers, Grizzlies and Ducks.

The Kings' contract with Fox Sports also expires in 2014. However, the Kings are believed to be close to reaching an agreement with Fox on a long-term renewal.



#20 DaytonBlue

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Posted March 18, 2012 - 11:31

oh crap...There are lots of obstacles to breaking the Forum lease, but Ellison certainly has the cash to do so.
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