Blog Entry

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

Posted on: August 7, 2011 11:43 am
Edited on: August 7, 2011 11:54 am
By Matt Moore

The Atlanta Hawks finally, finally have an owner. After years of internal strife amongst the myriad owners involved in the team's ownership group, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports today that Los Angeles pizza chain owner and diverse business mogul Alex Meruelo has an agreement to become majority owner of the Hawks. The Hawks can finally move on. From the AJC:
Although his primary residence and business will remain in Southern California, Meruelo said he plans to spend a lot of time in Atlanta and to buy a home here.

"If you look at my previous ... business ventures, I'm very hands-on, and this will be no different," he said.

Asked if there is any scenario in which he would seek to move the Hawks out of Atlanta, Meruelo said: "Absolutely no. None."

Owning an NBA team, he said, "has been a dream of mine and a passion, and you'll definitely see that as I become, hopefully, the owner in a short period of time."
via L.A. businessman buying majority stake in Hawks  |

The Hawks have been handcuffed by a minority group that allowed them to conduct business and make deals but had no long-term leadership plans due to their desperation to end the agreement that caused a rift amongst the various owners. Meruelo won't take control of the Hawks for another few months while the Board of Governors works through the lockout and tries to get themselves into one place, which is really difficult all of a sudden. But when he does, Meruelo told the AJC that there's no risk he'll try and move the team to Los Angeles or anywhere else. The plan is to keep the team in Atlanta. 

All of this comes as a relief for Hawks fans, who not only had to be concerned about the team moving out like their co-tenants the Thrashers did, but have become increasingly frustrated with what is perceived as a lack of organization to the team's approach as it has stalled in the second round of the playoffs. Larry Drew actually took the team the furthest it has gone with the current core, but showed a number of tactical errors, and the contract of Joe Johnson is so expensive and so long there has to be concerns about the team's viability as a contender in a few years. As a result, Josh Smith has been on the block for the past few months, and that will likely only increase after the expected lowering of the salary cap. 

With new ownership and a clear, unified voice in the way of a central owner, Hawks fans have reason for hope. Now the only question is whether Meruelo's hands-on approach will be for the benefit of the team, and exactly how much change this will bring to the franchise.  

Also notable is the fact that Meruelo becomes the first Hispanic majority owner in the NBA, a sign of the increasing diversity of the ownership in the league, even if it has been slow developing.

Since: Oct 17, 2008
Posted on: August 9, 2011 4:01 pm

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

Wait a mintue sir......Does, oaktown stand for Oakland....if thats the case I need not to even rag about about what type of city you stay in it would be an absolute watse of time and breath. Good day sir. 

Since: Apr 9, 2009
Posted on: August 8, 2011 7:23 pm

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

And you say this based on what?  The Hawks have notoriously had lousy attendance, the Braves don't sellout playoff games and one title combined for all 3 franchises!................... Then we get personal and describe LA as a bunch of tree huggers. First of all, we have no trees in LA.  But if we did, it's better to hug a tree than grope your sister like YA-AWL in the South. 

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: August 8, 2011 4:57 pm

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

Unless this guy is an idiot, and I'm assuming he isn't, he would never buy an NBA franchise during a lockout unless he was assured by the commissioner that the owners are "dug in" and plan to "win" the lockout. I think this is still another sign that the NBA is going to take a year off. Nothing else makes sense.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: August 8, 2011 12:21 pm

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

A bit far to buy an NBA team. He should have tried to buy the Clippers. I know many fans are not happy with the job Donald Sterling has done.

Since: Nov 9, 2008
Posted on: August 8, 2011 11:04 am

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

The Hawks, Braves and Falcons all belong in Atlanta... period! Nothing belongs in LA now except the Lakers as the people there don't support Pro Football and just barely supoport the Dodgers. Biggest bunch of Nanny State Tree Huggin folks on the planet.  

Since: Aug 27, 2007
Posted on: August 8, 2011 9:22 am

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

Where are you from?  Do you have a clue about Atlanta at all?  Phillips is an excellent arena and is not an issue.  Pehaps a good lease deal will help but the arena itself is fantastic.  The Thrashers moved because in the end about 10 people in Atlanta give a crap about hockey.  They'd have to have been as good as the Red Wings year in and year out to draw attention.  Atlantans do like basketball OK but it lags way behind College Football, NFL, and NASCAR in that order.  I've lived here 40 years and I will tell you I have had 1 friend with Hawks season tickets (and that's out of a ton of people) but they are still mildly popular, more intown that in the burbs.  The Hawks will stay.  Besides, where would be better that a top 10 market and leadr in the south?  Oh, I know, Seattle.  Wait, they just lost a Oklahoma! 

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: August 8, 2011 7:37 am

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

I'm not buying what your selling Go Pokes.  Everybody thinks the answer is to build a new stadium, most likely at the cost of taxpayers dollars.  With the economy still in the crapper, not a very good time to talk about building a new stadium.  Atlanta is a very complicated market.  It has a very diverse group of Households.  Many are transplants from another market.  We seen the city support football but other sports are lagging behind.  Atlanta is just not a sport city like Boston, NY, Detroit, Chicago, LA, to name a few. Buying a sports franchise in this market posses a big finanacial risk.  My guess is that Merulelo found a way to leverage the price down and a few years from now will sell at a nice profit.  Just because he says he's not moving the team now doesn't mean he won't at a later time.

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: August 8, 2011 6:09 am

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

Unlike the Hockey team the Basketball team was able to put together a talented group that was exciting to watch.  That said too many empty seats could be seen at games for a team that good.  Makes me wonder what will happen when they inevidably end up back in the crapper.

Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: August 7, 2011 10:54 pm

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

I still do not understand where the threat of moving would be coming from with the Hawks.  None of them cities that lost a franchise over the last 20 years have improved on the stadium problem.  Were they expecting to become some type of richers by going to Kansas City or something crazy?  Reality is they would be worse off moving, as the last two moved franchises learned.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: August 7, 2011 10:53 pm

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

Pizza chain owner are the Hawks new owner is the city of Atlanta crazy. Alex Meruelo will ruin the Hawks but then again the Hawks, city of Atlanta, and there fans were never winners so it won't change their luck with a pizza owner that's for sure. Once the lack of support comes to an end and it always happens in Atlanta then you will see the pizza owner leave with the team to LA and you can count on that Atlanta. If you Atlantans cared about your sports teams it would never had come to this but it always does an't that right Atlanta.

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