Blog Entry

Hornets have 'handful' of potential buyers

Posted on: September 15, 2011 2:38 pm
Posted by Royce Young

The New Orleans are making progress with a sticky situation despite this whole lockout business. The NBA-owned franchise are pushing forward in their drive to secure 10,000 season ticket holders as the team announced Wednesday that 9,003 have been sold. And there's still a month (or more...) to go before the season starts.

One thing that needs to happen though: The Hornets need an owner. Right now the league maintains ownership but obviously that's not a long-term solution. David Stern said in August there were potential local buyers lining up and now via the Times-Picayune, there could be something brewing on the ownership front.
Sperling travels to Dallas today for a meeting of the NBA Board of Governors, where representatives will be updated on the status of the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with the players.

Owners also could be apprised of the Hornets’ offseason sales successes.

Sperling wouldn’t identify any of the potential ownership groups. But one likely is headed by former minority owner Gary Chouest, who said at the time of the ownership transfer in December that he didn’t want to part with his 35 percent stake in the team.

“You can say there are people who live here who are potential buyers, and there are people who don’t live here who are potential buyers to keep the team here,” Sperling said.

Sperling wouldn’t say whether having a new collective bargaining agreement is crucial to identifying a new owner. Team representatives are prohibited under threat of fine to comment on labor matters.

The strategy for the Hornets -- and it's been a wise one -- has been to boost ticket sales and corporate sponsorship over the past months to make the team that much more enticing to a potential buyer. That way whoever were to step in would have a solid season ticket base in place and also would have a precedent set for sponsorship and ticket sales.

It's certainly working as corporate sponsorships are up and ticket sales strong. But there isn't a buyer yet. And that's the next order of business. Though I'm sure getting the lockout resolved would certainly help that along.
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