Blog Entry

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

Posted on: December 1, 2010 1:41 am
 
Doubt about the future of New Orleans is beginning to creep in as attendance deadline nears.
Posted by Matt Moore




There's been constant talk regarding the Hornets relocating since their (still) current owner George Shinn already moved the team once from Charlotte and has always hungered for the dollar. But when the Hornets started rocking in 2007-2008, those talks subsided as the city got behind the team.

Now, with the team off to a hot (although starting to cool) start, surely the city has responded and there are no legality concerns surrounding the arena attendance, right? Right?

Oh, heck.

If the Hornets do not average crowds of at least 14,213 for the next 13 games at the New Orleans Arena, the franchise can opt out of its current lease agreement with the state, according to Doug Thornton, vice president of SMG, the company that manages the Arena and the Superdome.

The Hornets and the state amended their lease agreement in 2007 to extend it through 2014, but an attendance benchmark of 14,735 was implemented. The franchise can opt out of the pact if the benchmark is not made over a period of two consecutive years during the agreement.
via Apparently, the attendance benchmark is back on the table for the New Orleans Hornets | NOLA.com .

The real problem here is that there's no real way to figure it out. New Orleans has long been viewed as suspect from a financial standpoint. In major markets, ticket price alone and sheer demand will keep you afloat (see: Clippers, The Los Angeles). But in smaller markets like NOLA, you have to rely on support, especially in the "fat" years when you're winning in order to survive the "lean" years when you're rebuilding.

And the Hornets just aren't getting it. Now these numbers are more complicated than just ticket sales, since sponsorships and suites have more to do with the economics of arenas nowadays than actual sales. But those provisions are built in for a reason, to protect the team from a city that just won't support it.

Now, I'm sure Hornets fans feel very strongly about their team and its support, but the numbers unfortunately are pretty damning. And with this kind of economy, it becomes harder for a new owner in Gary Chouest to avoid looking at the options. Chouest however, has given no indications that he'll move the team during his discussions.

Then again, Chouest hasn't been confirmed as owner, yet.

It's a sticky situation for the Hornets, the city, and an arena that insiders say is one of the worst in the league. But they faced a similar situation in 2008, and once the Saints season was done, the city responded. Fans have to trust that will happen again this year, provided Chris Paul keeps the good times rolling.
Comments

Since: Sep 29, 2008
Posted on: December 3, 2010 3:25 pm
 

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

There will never be a team in Las Vegas, especially with the gambling scandal the league has already been through. I agree that there should be a team in Seattle but Kansas City makes just as much sense. The is already an NBA quality arena in place (Sprint Center) and it is a very basketball friendly area. It is dubbed the college basketball capital of the country and the arena is always filled when Mizzou, Kansas State, and kansas play basketball games there. I have always just been surprised that it was never even mentioned when NO was playing away from home and when Seattle was deciding on where to move.



Since: Apr 21, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2010 3:54 pm
 

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

now with the population still significantly reduced Post-Katrina



i can say with some level of certainty, that the people that left via gov't bus to ATL and Houston were not your everyday ticket buying fans. 



Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2010 3:51 pm
 

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

That wont uplift the poor poor victims of Katrina



Since: Dec 6, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2010 1:23 pm
 

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

If a team moves anywhere, it is much more likely it will be Seattle or Las Vegas, and not STL or KC.



Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2010 12:13 pm
 

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

New Orleans having the Hornets and Saints pre-Katrina was pushing it, now with the population still significantly reduced Post-Katrina (even though it has rebounded some), the area is simply not large enough to support them both. Let the greedy bum move the team to someone else, lets' say, putting a team back in Seattle???



Since: Oct 29, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2010 11:45 am
 

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

I agree, Yankee. The fans in NO promised they would do better when the Hornets almost came to OKC. Because of what they did for us, a part of our heart still supports them. If NO has let them down, again, they should be able to go where they will be appreciated.



Since: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2010 10:37 am
 

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

Shinn's done it before, he will do it again. He nearly did already when the Hornets were splitting time between NO and Oklahoma City.



Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2010 9:59 am
 

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

I agree, STL and Kansas City deserve a team. Move them there. 



Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: December 1, 2010 9:38 am
 

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

They didn't have a basketball team for decades and they manged just fine.



Since: Oct 6, 2010
Posted on: December 1, 2010 8:28 am
 

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

let the team stay in new orleans they dont have baseball or hockey


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