Since the NBA bought out the old ownership of the New Orleans Hornets, the league started trying to solidify the financials of the team — get more sponsors, sell more season tickets, get a better arena deal with the state. Oh, and crush the players union. Maybe we can do some more profit sharing, too.
Even with all that, there were serious questions if the league would be able to find a local buyer that would keep the team in New Orleans (notoriously not the best sports market).
Apparently they have.
That’s what David Stern told the Times-Picayune.
“We have four or possibly five buyers that engaged us about the purchase of the franchise to remain in Louisiana,” said Stern, who declined to identify them. “We have said that we’re happy to continue conversations, but we need to complete all of the things we’re working on and have a better idea on where the collective bargaining agreement is going to land.”
If the new Collective Bargaining Agreement — and whatever revenue sharing is agreed to — really does help smaller market teams, the odds of the Hornets staying in the land of gumbo goes way up. However, an extended lockout will hurt casual fan interest severely, and a lot of the inroads being made now may be lost in that scenario. Fans are going to be angry with the players and the league, and that is going to show at the gate and in television ratings, and from there ultimately in revenue.
You know there are owners out there willing to buy then move the team. But maybe there is hope that will not happen. It’s a long way from being finalized, but it would be nice to see the league be able to find an owner and keep the Hornets in the Crescent City.