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 21, 2007
Posted on: August 7, 2011 10:46 pm

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

Glad that the Hawks have a decent owner who will not nickel and dime the franchise and does not have to consult other partners to make decisions. We will have to wait and see what happens but anything is better than the Atlanta Spirit.

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: August 7, 2011 10:39 pm

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

I dont often say this but......Are you crazy????? The Phillips Arena is 10 years old maybe. It is a great facility. It rivals any around. The areana is not the problem!

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: August 7, 2011 10:29 pm

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

The fanbase for the Hawks and even the Thrashers was in place - the problem is the lack of facilities.  It's time to work on getting a new arena to play games within and this team will flourish - this is a good investment if, and only if, Meruelo is successful in getting a new arena.  If planned properly, the arena will be able to have ice and maybe Atlanta can get a new NHL team or get one to relocate since they just lost their team to Winipeg all because of the fact that they couldn't get a new arena.  Even if he can't get a new arena people still seem to go to Hawks games - with some better advertising and some better roster moves they might be able to fill up the arena to capacity - then this deal goes from "good" to "fantastic" - then if you add a new arena the deal becomes "superb" - especially if the Hawks are the primary tenant who has control of the arena.   

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: August 7, 2011 10:16 pm

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

paid way  too much money for Joe johnson...he always disappear in playoffs

Since: May 29, 2011
Posted on: August 7, 2011 10:05 pm

Alex Meruelo reaches agreement to purchase Hawks

give him time he move them when the fans do not show up at games

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or