Tag: Louisiana

Detroit Pistons v New Orleans Hornets

Governor admits Louisiana has to pay Hornets $7 million

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Part of the deal the Hornets have with the state of Louisiana (which owns their arena) is that if the Hornets do not meet certain revenue benchmarks, the state has to make them up.

Gov. Bobby Jindal said Monday the state will have to pay the team about $7 million this season, the Times-Picayune reports.

In January, the Hornets surpassed the attendance benchmark average of 14,735, a requirement in their lease agreement with the state. But there also is a revenue benchmark included in the team’s amended lease agreement that stipulates the state will have to pay the Hornets’ inducements not exceeding $7.5 million at the end of this season if the team doesn’t gross at least $43.6 million, which is 80 percent of their gross revenue for all potential ticket sales.

You can imagine how well that is going to go over in this economy, with the state tightening its budget everywhere — education programs for at-risk youth, park and museum hours, social services and more are proposed to be cut in the next Louisiana budget. The money for the Hornets was included in last year’s budget.

Jindal made the announcement at an event trying to promote season tickets for the Hornets, the next step in a public/private effort to make it more viable for the Hornets to stay in New Orleans. Getting the finances of the team in order is the first step in finding a new owner that would keep the team in New Orleans. Which is an uphill task but the NBA is at least going through the motions on it.

Governor says state will help keep Hornets in New Orleans, so long as nobody asks for cash

Milwaukee Bucks v New Orleans Hornets
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The state of Louisiana is right in the middle of the now official league purchase of the New Orleans Hornets — the team plays in the state-owned New Orleans Arena. David Stern said in his conference call on the league taking control of the team that he hoped to see more financial assistance from the state, closer to what the Saints receive.

So WWL radio asked Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal what the state might be able to do to help keep the Hornets in New Orleans. He sounded like a politician, but he made his point.

“We’ve been working not only with the current management but now the league on creative ways for the state to support keeping the Hornets here,” said Jindal. But Jindal said those efforts have to have limits.

“We’ve made it clear that they understand the state is facing significant financial pressures,” the governor said. “We’re not going to do anything that jeopardizes funding for higher education or health care.”

Read that as, “you’re not getting give backs from us.”

There may be some way to move numbers around on paper and give some help to the league or new owership, but Louisiana — like every state right now — is not exactly in a place to give away money to billionaires. And you can be sure that’s how any significant deal by the state to provide a cushion for the new owners (whoever they are) would be portrayed.

But if the Hornets are going to stay in Louisiana, Jindal is going to play a role and maybe find some cash. Somehow.