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Hornets to be sold to Saints owner Tom Benson for $338 million

Apr 13, 2012, 12:09 PM EDT

Tom+Benson+New+Orleans+Saints+v+Minnesota+AArmV4XJEwDl Getty Images

Tom Benson, the long-time owner of the New Orleans Saints, now will own both professional sports teams in that market.

Benson has reached a deal to buy the team for $338 million, reports David Aldridge of NBA.com.

The league reached a tentative agreement early Friday morning with New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson to buy the team for $338 million, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.

The NBA Board of Governors had been expected to approve a sale of the team at its meetings this week in New York. Going into the week a California-based group led by Mike Dunleavy and Raj Bhathal was considered the front runner. But Benson stepped forward able to buy the team himself, without a group of investors, and that plus his ties to New Orleans apparently swayed the other owners.

A source indicated that Tom Benson spoke with Stern on Monday, and the deal came together quickly after that discussion. Benson will have to pay approximately 10 percent of the purchase price immediately. The NBA’s Finance Committee is expected to approve the sale Friday morning before the Board of Governors meeting adjourns, with final approval on the sale expected later in the spring.

The Times-Picayune broke the story this morning.

The NFL used to have strict rules against their owners also owning teams in other sports, but that has been relaxed to allow owners to have multiple teams in the same market, according to ProFootballTalk at NBC.

The league bought the Hornets from George Shinn, who tried his hardest to run that team into the ground and ruin the market like he had done in Charlotte. That sale price was reportedly $318 million (so the owners turn a small profit on the deal). While operating the team the NBA was able to negotiate a new, more favorable lease deal for the New Orleans Arena — a deal that keeps the team in the city through 2024 — and to build up the season ticket and fan bases in the city. That plus a new CBA that is more favorable to small markets made the Hornets attractive to investors.

The fans in the Big Easy have stepped forward to support the team. They deserve stable ownership and now they have it.

  1. rollteal - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    That’s good to hear they have solid Ownership next step is establishing the Brand and if they are going to stay the Hornets or what.

  2. redstar504 - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    Great, great day for New Orleans. The weather is great outside, French Quarter Fest is going on, and Tom Benson has bought the Bees. Finally the Hornets are going to have someone that knows how to run a first class operation. That means I am sure the Hornets are going to finally get out of that run down high school gym they use as a practice facility way in the swamps of Westwego, LA. I would bet my dollar that they move into the Voodo’s old facilities right there on Airline Drive in Metairie, LA next door to the New Orleans Saints.

    Tom Benson is also going to bring huge intrest into the franchise by way of the massive fan base the Saints have.

    We can finally get free agents now. That dump of a gym has been killing us in getting guys to come here, along with having to play for George Shinn and/or David Stern. Now they can play for a first class owner that does stuff the right way.

    Again great day for New Orleans.

  3. obijuan13 - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Oh no!! Bounties in the NBA!!!

    • cullenand99 - Apr 13, 2012 at 4:03 PM

      Nice to see some originality in these posts…..

  4. henryd3rd - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Does this mean we’ll get ot see Benson do his buggie after each Hornets’ win? God forbid!

  5. baron30 - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    no remain the team to something other than the Hornets…New Orleans Big Easy, New Orleans Cajuns, New Orleans Voodoo, New Orleans Boogalee…anything is better than the Hornets

  6. franchiseplaya - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    too bad he didn’t step up earlier. he probably would’ve taken the lakers deal for paul.

    • dannymac17 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      Still bitter huh?

      go clips.

      • redstar504 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        Forget the clips that is why Blake Griffen was on the floor crying last time you guys came here. You can have CP3 and his played out knee!

        All kidding and smack talk aside I really think we might get a little rivaliary going with you guys which would be great since the Hornets have had none since they came into the west.

        And again all kidding aside I still think CP3 is a great PG and I don’t care what team he plays for I will allways like him. He is a great person and a great basketball player. I just don’t like him when he comes back to N.O.

  7. jumbossportsblog - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Reblogged this on jumbossportsblog.

  8. AlohaMrHand - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    swap names with the Utah Jazz.The Utah Hornets fits as Utah is known as the beehive state

    • davidly - Apr 13, 2012 at 3:50 PM

      In that case, I’m glad I bought an exshtra copy.

    • lvtutorservice - Apr 13, 2012 at 7:55 PM

      I hope they do switch back to the Jazz. However, I think the Hornets name will remain in New Orleans. It’s part of the same mentality that keeps the Big Ten (with 12 teams) and the Big XII (with 10 teams). It’s about a brand and I don’t think they will attempt to change the brand name (Hornets). I wish they would change to give New Orleans basketball new life.

      • Kurt Helin - Apr 14, 2012 at 11:50 AM

        Tom Benson said later he wants to change the name. It won’t be to Jazz, however.

    • txnative61 - Apr 14, 2012 at 3:21 AM

      AND—Never heard any Jazz in Salt Lake City-Utah, or near there. Cannot fathom why they kept the name??? Should have been returned to New Orleans long ago.

  9. drewzducks - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    No doubt a decision he came to after seeing the Jason Smith hit on Blake.

  10. jordanaires - Apr 14, 2012 at 5:17 AM

    New Orleans Jazz is by far the best. NBA make it happen. Utah can have Hornets or start fresh.

  11. jordanaires - Apr 14, 2012 at 5:18 AM

    New Orleans Po Boys?

  12. jordanaires - Apr 14, 2012 at 5:20 AM

    Or as a homage to Andrew Jackson, the New Orleans Ol’ Hickories?

  13. gmsingh - Apr 14, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    New ownership isn’t going to alleviate the fact that the NBA has too many teams.

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