NEW OWNER OF THE NEW ORLEANS HORNETS: TOM BENSON (Originally Pusblished 2-15-12)

NEW OWNER OF THE NEW ORLEANS HORNETS: TOM BENSON

I believe that Saints owner Tom Benson has to become the next owner of the New Orleans Hornets. 

According to Joe Gerrity of the website hornets247.com Benson is one of the potential buyers working to acquire the NBA-owned franchise. 

Their is a provision prohibiting NFL owners from owning NBA teams in the same market…so to buy the Hornets Benson would have to petition the NFL for a special waiver (which he’d probably get)…or perhaps the team could be bought by a group led by Benson but with Rita Benson LeBlanc as the majority owner.  For the sake of this blog, let’s just work under the assumption that Benson can in some form or fashion purchase the Hornets.

One long-time, well respected sports journalist told me I was crazy for suggesting Benson buy the Hornets.  His reason…and it’s hard for me to argue with him: Before Sean Payton and Drew Brees arrived the Saints were looked at as a struggling, small market, dysfunctional mess.  Pre-Katrina (Payton/Brees) season ticket sales were at and all time low and fan apathy at an all-time high.  From ’03-’05 it seemed like every month we led a newscast with reports of the Saints moving to Los Angeles, San Antonio or Albuquerque.  My journalist friend joked with me that unless Sean Payton can coach/operate an NBA franchise than my idea of Benson owning the Hornets was borderline foolish.

While I see the logic of that arguement I disagree.

Tom Benson: The new owner of the New Orleans Hornets? I hope so.

I think Tom Benson owning the Hornets will provide tremendous stability to one of the NBA’s nomadic franchises.  Benson owning the Hornets also allows our cities NBA team to ride the wave of success the Saints have created.

Remember when Benson owned the Voodoo of the Arena Football League?  The Saints pushed tickets and suites for the Voodoo onto Saints fans and led the AFL in season ticket sales.  Benson also worked to bring two Arena Bowl games to New Orleans.

Since Hurricane Katrina Benson has worked hard to invest in New Orleans…buying and operating a local TV station, a production company and bringing Mercedes-Benz in as a sponsor for the Superdome.  He’s also agreed on a new long-term deal to keep the Saints in New Olreans which allowed the city to become the host of Super Bowl XLVII (New Orleans will also reportedly be bidding on Super Bowl L {50}).     

If Benson bought the Hornets he could work with the state of Louisiana on a new lease agreement, naming rights for the New Orleans Arena and he could move the Hornets headquarters into Benson Tower.  Benson may even be able to get funding from the state to turn the old Voodoo practice facility (located on the current Saints complex on Airline Drive) into a training complex for the Hornets.

A Tom Benson owned Hornets team could be re-branded with new colors (black and gold…just like all teams in Pittsburgh are black and yellow) allowing for cross-over marketing that would seem to work well in small market New Orleans.   

Imagine if you will a Hornets practice/scrimmage in Champions Square before a Saints home game.  Fans could meet the Hornets players at Saints training camp workouts.  Saints autograph sessions, charity events and free agent signings could be set-up at the New Orleans Arena to coincide with Hornets games in the spring. 

Owning both teams and having them work hand-in-hand to achieve individual success would be a story celebrated world wide and might lead to copy-cat endeavours from billionaire owners far and wide.

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One Response

  1. do you proof read your material? clearly you do not have a journalism degree, (based on the grammatical errorS in this article)

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