We told you yesterday that the sale of the New Orleans Hornets fell through — in part possibly because of the impending lockout — which has left the NBA with the unenviable task of taking over running the team until a new owner can be found.
The takeover is apparently going to happen soon — as in maybe the next couple of days soon — so the league needed someone to run the team and help organize the sale.
Enter Jac Sperling, Sports Illustrated reports. He is the vice chairman of the Minnesota Wild of the NHL but will be a basketball guy now.
The NBA wants to keep the Hornets in New Orleans — even though it looks like they will be able to opt out of their lease soon — and Sperling may be the right guy for that job. He helped bring the NHL back to Minnesota, which sounds like a place there should be a franchise but there were a ton of financial and other obstacles to making it happen. Sperling overcame them. He also helped broker the sale of the Anaheim Ducks.
But New Orleans has struggled, even before Katrina, to fill the expensive seats and luxury boxes that are now the key part of bringing in revenue for an NBA team (or any major pro sports team, whatever the league). And there are certainly potential owners and cities that would like to jump in here and grab a team they can move.