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Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 2:05 pm  |  48 responses

Poor Attendance Jeopardizing Hornets’ Future in New Orleans?

The Hornets have only enjoyed a single sellout at home this season so far (and are playing before much bigger crowds on the road), and they’re facing some economic pressures when it comes to attendance once again, leading to speculation about the franchise’s future in the Big Easy. The Times-Picayune reports: “If the Hornets do not average crowds of at least 14,213 for the next 13 games at the New Orleans Arena, the franchise can opt out of its current lease agreement with the state, according to Doug Thornton, vice president of SMG, the company that manages the Arena and the Superdome. The Hornets reached the mark for the two-year period that ended in 2009, and the requirement was thought to have been lifted after the state was not required to pay the franchise inducements. But Thornton said Monday the benchmark remains in place. Despite a franchise-record start, the Hornets have experienced a decline in attendance. This season, attendance has dipped to an average of 14,214 over the first eight games, which ranks 25th in the 30-team league. Last season, the Hornets averaged 15,072 for 42 home dates. The New Orleans Arena seats 17,188 for NBA games. The benchmark is derived from averages of the previous season and the first half of the current season, which runs through Jan. 31. After Jan. 31, the Hornets and state will determine their remaining average based on projected totals … If the Hornets fail to reach the 14,735 benchmark average, they would be free to relocate but would have to pay the state a $10 million exit penalty. They also would have to inform the state of their intention no later than March 1, 2011. Weber said the Hornets have continued to talk with the state since the amended lease was finalized in 2007. He said they will continue to have dialogue with the state, and they are not pushing to leave the city. ‘We all know basketball can work in New Orleans,’ Hornets President Hugh Weber said. ‘We’ve seen it work.’”

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  • http://Nba.com GP23

    Say hello to the ‘las vegas hornets, or the ‘Seattle hornets.’ One of them cities will get the franchise.

  • STAYWEIRD38

    Seattle PLeaseeee !!

  • STAYWEIRD38

    SEATTLE SAY NOISE!

  • http://Nba.com GP23

    Take the franchise to London, England. Us brits would fill the arena every game. This would benefit the NBA hugely.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Couldn’t they move to Seattle and be the Sonics again?

  • Sasquatch

    Seattle!

  • http://www.twitter.com/gerardhimself Gerard Himself

    They’re having an amazing season, a team to be proud of, so it sucks that not a whole lot of people drop by to see them. Then again, tickets are probably just too damn expensive, so you can’t blame ‘em either.

  • Klav

    welcome back Seattle Supersonics!!! time for me to move up to the 206.

  • http://www.solecollector.com NDP

    New Orleans moves to OKC again, is re-named Thunder.

    Thunder move back to Seattle. Sonics return.

    Charlotte drops silly Bobcats nickname and takes back ‘Hornets’ mascot.

    So complicated and tricky that it works perfectly.

  • http://joshwritethis.com Josh

    Sonics? Come on, what we need are the Portland Trail-Hornets. In an unprecedented move Paul Allen buys up the hornets and merges them with the Blazers (who, in a landmark decision, are deemed so injury prone that they only count as half a team). They have a roster of 25 players and go on to win the championship.

  • All Day

    Time to bring in the moving trucks…it’s a wrap for the Hornets in New Orleans.

  • max

    howard schultz better gets active right know. bribe them with effin chocolate-covered coffeebeans if that’s what it takes.

  • dma

    “If the Hornets do not average crowds of at least 14,213 for the next 13 games at the New Orleans Arena, the franchise can opt out of its current lease agreement with the state”
    That’s a crazy opt-out clause in the contract and george shinn should be ashamed of himself (i’m sure he had a lot to do with it being placed). i wonder how many other sports franchises have a thing like that?

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    NDP has the perfect solution. We drafted Durant and the Hornets would have already been in OKC had it not been for Katrina.

  • http://j@j.com j

    Settle down everybody. Fans were understandably gun shy in the midst of CP’s summer trade demands. And ticket sales are always slower at the beginning of the year until football season ends. Their numbers are what and what when the team started the 07-08 year and they ended up over and above the ticket number. The Hornets will hit their mark.

    Also, I find it really sad how many people openly root against the success of the Hornets in the city of New Orleans. I don;t know where that comes from, but it’s truly disconcerting.

  • David

    If they did become the Sonics, and I don’t know if that would really happen, then what happens to Sonic/Hornet team histories?

  • VA

    Hampton Roads VA and the Seven Cities. Big Market

  • bnets

    Vancouver please

  • JTaylor21

    They could move to Pluto for all I care and who wants to see the best PG play anyways.

  • bnets

    Clippers should move to Seattle

  • http://yahoo.com Eboy

    Let the Hornets go to Seattle it would be great there waiting to explode with a NBA team.

  • bnets

    Seattle Super Hornets, and Vancouver Clippers

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Anyone suggesting seattle should realize the sonics had the exact same problem, thats why they moved. If hornets moved to seattle, it would have the same problems, poor attendance, and a very old arena that the city doesnt want to help renovate or help build a new one. Seattle is not getting another team, at least not for a long time. Get lucid.

  • NJ4Life

    Newark could sure as hell use a team after the Nets pack up for BK

  • bnets

    I could see them move to Montreal too

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    Montreal??? Seriously? I don’t know….anyways New Orleans is a football city at the moment, that probably wont change until we get into late April or so and they start making a nice playoff push. Adding another semi-star, familiar-face kinda guy wouldn’t hurt either. Remember when they used to run around with the little Peja face thingy’s after he hit a 3…and he had as much star power as….(nothing clever to say)….anyways he was a familiar face with at least an ounce of marketability amongst the fans, other than the obvious exception of CP3, whose wavering stance on his future with the team over the summer likely hurt his popularity in the town, their is no one else of that sort on the roster. Either way, Hornets fans have no excuse but to stand in support of this squad.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    I don’t know @bnets the Vancouver rout has been tried before not sure if the market has changed any since. Montreal seems interesting, but it didn’t quite work out well for the Expos, though perhaps basketball is a more popular sport than baseball up there…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Tarzan
    New Orleans has a brand new arena. That joint isn’t even 10 years old unless I’m mistaken.
    Furthermore, it should not be the city’s job to renovate privately owned buildings for use by a privately owned company. Particularly when said company has a marginal at best economic impact on the community as a whole.

  • odp

    WV needs a dleague team or buffalo ny

  • http://brimartin13@gmail.com Brion

    Unfortunately Tarzan is half right. Seattle cant get another team until they get funding for a new Arena, BUT poor attendance is not the issue. We only had poor attendance when we had a horrible team year after year. (it slowly declined as our team sucked worse every year). We sucked so bad we finally got an awesome draft pick (Durant), then lost our team to OKC, now their awesome.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Allen, I totally agree that cities shouldnt have to help foot the bill for privately owned stadiums, but thats just how it works, I dont like it, and it sucks for taxpayers, but thats the reality we have.

  • louisianimal

    same thing happened a few years ago. hornets ain goin nowhere

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    @Tarzan, I am not wearing rose-colored glasses.
    CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer (who is a hoops junkie and tried to buy the Sonics from Clay Bennett) just cashed out $1.3 billion of his company stock. I am confident it was for the sole purpose of buying an NBA franchise and funding a brand new arena. The rest of the money will fund my salary as President of Hoops Operations. I’m totally lucid, bro.

  • Jose

    That opt out clause sounds familiar to semi-pro.haha…Seattle Super-Hornets anyone?

  • Jrooks

    Yea why dont va have a basketball team? They should pick up oj mayo and come to va. Good idea

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    Mexico City Hornets

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    They should move a team to the middle of wyoming, and turn the town into another vegas. Yeeeeaaaaaaaa

  • Groves@UWA

    Kansas City, St Louis, Seattle, Las Vegas, Hampton Roads, Birmingham, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Columbus, Nashville, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Monterrey

  • tom

    give the nba back to seattle!

  • matt the jazz fan

    stay there to prove that cities can’t be held for ransom. though clippers to seattle makes sense. call’em the seattle windows if that’s what it takes to get ballmers’s billions to pay for a new stadium

  • http://bugmarley.com LeoneL

    Shut UP Eboy! Hornets staying in New Orleans. Stick to your HEAT!

  • Wally West

    The Hornets are suffering from the Saints recent success and the downturn in the economy along with the decline in population and income due to the affects of Katrina. Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) recently sold 1.3 billion is stocks. That is HIS OWN MONEY not BORROWED like some duschebag in OKC, anyways he was interested in buying the Sonics from Bennett before they moved and is know to be still interested in bringing a team back to Seattle and giving them the Sonics back. 1.3 billion is more than enough to help build an arena with other investors and buy a team. With the Kings issues in Sacramento and the Hornets troubles in NO it wouldn’t surprise me at all to hear one of these teams are relocating to Seattle just after Ballmer announces a new arena to be built in Seattle, if that is what he sold stock for. I for one hope the Sonics return to the NBA soon. It isn’t the same with out them. If he bought the Hornets couldn’t he give the name back to Charlotte and let them go back to the Charlotte Hornets? That would be cool and ironic! Seattle Sonics and Charlotte Hornets back in the same year.

  • WDS

    The Hornets have had poor attendance since they moved to NOLA. The economy and Katrina have nothing to do with it.

  • 156 149

    I would hate to steal a team from a city Like new Orleans yet they stole from Charlotte and charlotte has a team now. so sense we were tole from and the NBA stole from us it would only be far.
    Yet I like the Kings Seattle is in King count. They Clippers should move to Vegas or San Deigo they are like the unwated step child in LA with the Lakders taking all the glory. I would like the timberwolves or pacers yet I dont realy want to steal so New Orleans Hornets sound like The Seattle Hornets
    I loved the od sonic telles chose a new name and logo

  • dolf

    Vancouver!

  • Mac22

    Vancouver all the way!! go canada

  • Mac22

    vancouver

  • George

    Moving the team to Montreal is probably the best scenario.
    Major market, 4th or 5th largest city in North America.
    They had an exhibition game in October 2010 and the Bell Centre sold out with 22,000. I believe that is a record for NBA Basketball.
    Look for them to move there in one or two years.

    Another team that could possibly move is the Indiana Pacers to Montreal.
    The name would be perfect for Montreal as it has ties to it’s F1 racing venue.

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