Which is better: Complete or partial sale of Atlanta Hawks?

Which is a better outcome — a complete or partial sale of the Hawks? Why?

One scenario — the current owners of the Atlanta Hawks sell out completely to a new owner or owners, who keep the team here.

Another scenario — the seven-man group, known as the Atlanta Spirit, add other investors — but stay in the game.

AJC writer Tim Tucker reports that Hawks’ part-owner Bruce Levenson is denying a Sports Illustrated report that the basketball team is on the verge of being sold.

“Not true,” Levenson said in an email statement to Tucker. “As we have stated for an extended period of time, we engaged an investment banker to assist us in looking for investors for the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena operating rights,” the statement said.

What would you like to see — more investors or a total change?

There’s plenty of history and controversy to rely on for your decision, including a lengthy legal battle among the owners and the group’s recent sale of the Thrashers to a Canadian group that’s moving the team to Winnipeg.

But even if the Hawks are sold, Tucker writes, the team is not in danger of following the Thrashers out of town because of the Philips Arena bond deal.

With that in mind, what are you hoping for?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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45 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

June 24th, 2011
7:18 am

Total sale, with a garentee the team stays in Atlanta.

Puck Like A Porn Star

June 24th, 2011
7:55 am

Total sale; get these liars and frauds out of town.

Arthur Blank has really spoiled us on competent, responsible ownership.

Expect a full-scale boycott of the Hawks this year, which means only the see-to-be-seen, glam, comp ticket crowd (instead of real, paying sports fans) will be in attendance, at least by the middle of the second quarter.

manman

June 24th, 2011
8:24 am

Get rid of the bums. ASG is easily one of the worst groups to ever own any franchise in any sport, period. The sooner we can get rid of these incompetent idiots the better.

TruthIsObvious

June 24th, 2011
8:35 am

ATLANTA SPIRIT GROUP SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS!

F’ing sell the team already. From Sund to Waddell, this incompetent group of ninnyhammers can literally do nothing right. It pisses me off to no end that two (one former) teams in a city of almost 6M are owned by these people. Atlanta has the potential to be a great basketball town, if only 1) we had decent owners 2) we could win two consecutive playoff series.

GP

June 24th, 2011
8:55 am

TOTAL SALE! The Spirit Squad stink. They can’t be making any money with the attendance as low as it is and the 7th highest payroll in the league. Part-time, absentee owners are not meant to run any business, even a McDonalds.

dre

June 24th, 2011
9:08 am

@Puck – All due respect, why would a Hawks sale change the base of attendees? I’ve never seen a town where more people are there to be seen (and on their cellphones) than Atlanta (Braves and Hawks), Thrashers not so much. They think they’re in L.A.

Mike

June 24th, 2011
9:26 am

Total sale: Keep the Hawks in Atlanta and kicked out the ASG. Besides if CNNSI and other places is sticking to their facts about this and we know how trustworthy they are, a deal will have soon.

get rid of the ASG clowns

June 24th, 2011
9:26 am

Is this a trick question? Total sale! The Atlanta Spirit Group is horrible.

Gary

June 24th, 2011
9:38 am

A complete sale. I can deal with Gearon getting a small, less than 20% stake in order to keep wearing his Hawks gear and waving his towel during playoff games court side. However, the rest of those bums including that liar Bruce Levenson should be hauled out of town. And I believe these reports and the one recently from USA Today. Within the next few weeks or month we will have new owners. The Thrashers sale will be finalized soon and that will allow the Hawks sale to be completed. Levenson can keep telling us that these reports are not true just like they kept telling us the same crap in regards to the Thrashers. The day that man is ran out of town will be the best day in Atlanta sports. Even Rankin Smith was a more classy owner than that bum.

JASon

June 24th, 2011
9:46 am

“With that in mind, what are you hoping for?”

I’m hoping for them not giving joe johnson a $120 million salary then talking about selling the team the very next year. Oh, wait that has already happened

sell now

June 24th, 2011
9:47 am

sell the team to real owners—-these morons have no clue how to run a franchise. I gave up my 2 season tickets 2 years ago after getting tired of all this mismanagement and incompetence. They need to clean house, drop all this overpaid deadwood and bad contracts and get real BB people in here. If not, I hope the entire franchise leaves town–an embarrassment.

usedtobeahawksfan

June 24th, 2011
9:47 am

Lets try and hope to get new owners…PERIOD…the asg are well known proven liars, that wanted to be big show-offs and own sports teams in theis home town. Why liars? They claim to be losing 20 to 25 million a year the past 5 years…..I dont think their pockets are that deep…..Let some new buyers take the team….and ship the ASG to other citeies….

Mike

June 24th, 2011
9:52 am

To me, the writing is on the wall, everybody in America knows that they are very inept ownership (proof: ESPN Rankings) . Their decision (overpay JJ, drafting, bring in Sund) has done worst for this team and the way they treated both teams as a tax write-off is plain sucks. Hawks need a owner that want to help this team to get to the top like Falcons is still doing.

ASG knows that their time in the Sun is almost up and they need to sell the Hawks and move on, period.

Matt

June 24th, 2011
10:18 am

If this is some sort of poll, I think it was a bigger waste of effort than the Elvis stamp question the USPS did some years ago! Let’s see, do we want to see young, handsome Elvis at the peak of his game, or the overweight, diseased, shell of his former self from the 70’s? File this one under “duh!”

Blondie

June 24th, 2011
10:22 am

The sooner ASG no longer controls any sports teams or arenas, the better. Until they sell, you won’t catch me stepping foot in Philips for *anything* -not even if my favorite band is playing. They aren’t getting one red cent of my money after what they did to the Thrashers.

Bob Horney

June 24th, 2011
10:26 am

Bruce Levenson can suck the big one… Hawks fans, don’t believe a word this man says…he is a liar and his pants are on fire!!

Puck Like A Porn Star

June 24th, 2011
10:29 am

The boycott will be because of how ASG handled the Thrashers sale: even Hawks fans were disgusted by the lies and collusion. All that will be left at Hawks games will the wannabe Angelos in Atlanta, not sports fans that expect to WIN.

cpsman_atlanta

June 24th, 2011
10:30 am

ASG now realizes that the deal they made with TNSE and the NHL to sell and move the Thrashers to Winnipeg was a huge mistake. The amount of lying they did with regards to selling the more valuable asset in Atlanta; their only chance to save face is to sell Phillips and the Hawks as a package deal, and get out of our city.

Now, I know, some people are thinking – How are the Thrashers more valuable than the Hawks? That answer can’t be explained right now. But, I have a feeling when we get to November, and both the NFL and NBA are not playing due to a strike, many people will begin to question it more and more.

And, yes, as long as ASG owns Phillips and the Hawks, I will not step foot into Phillips Arena for any event, which bothers me, since I’d like to go to a Atlanta Dream game, but I just can’t do it right now.

glenn

June 24th, 2011
10:31 am

hopefully he is lying and we will have one good owner instead of 23 mediocre ones

Puck Like A Porn Star

June 24th, 2011
10:32 am

A Hawks sale, just like a local Thrashers sale, would have reinvigorated the fanbase, as long as the new owner gave a damn about WINNING.

Puck Like A Porn Star

June 24th, 2011
10:35 am

@Gary: the Thrashers sale finalized on June 21. They’re gone, thanks to idiot ownership from ASG and the hockey team staying not being a condition of the Philips Arena bond issuance.

Boom Dizzle

June 24th, 2011
10:39 am

Get these clowns out of here COMPLETELY!! They ran one franchise so poorly they moved to (of all places) Winnipeg….they have lied, cheated and ripped off the fans for years. They don’t spend on the Thrashers, they won’t spend big on the Hawks. The only team that’s won while these clowns have been ownership has been the team of lawyers that’s dealt with suit (Belkin) after suit (vs each other) after suit (the law firm they used to sue Belkin)…..

Get these buffoons out of here NOW!!!!

Jack

June 24th, 2011
10:40 am

How in the world do you call yourselves sports reporters and you don’t know anything about Marshon Brooks? He won the AAAA State Championship for Tucker High and was the #2 scorer in the country and #1 for the Big East and just went #25 in the draft and you have no mention of him? You all don’t cover local talent well at all.

Puck Like A Porn Star

June 24th, 2011
10:43 am

@cpsman_atlanta: I completely agree, including about the Dream, who actually got to the Finals, unlike the Hawks. ASG IGNORED multiple offers to buy all three entities for up to $500MM, and now no one on Earth wants anything to do with them and their shady business practices. David McDavid, we barely knew ye.

The Truth

June 24th, 2011
10:47 am

This is going to sound very vengeful and like a petulant little kid but I hope they do sell the Hawks and just get out of town. And as Thrasher fans, I do not mind telling you we got little support from the basketball community in our fight with the owners. Bottom line whether the Hawks stay or not means nothing to me as I am not a NBA fan. But, basketball fans will be much better off if they can get this group of imcompetents out of here on the first train. They have done nothing but bring grief and misery…..the only thing that has burned Atlanta more than these guys is Sherman himself.

Puck Like A Porn Star

June 24th, 2011
10:50 am

Sherman made the city unfit for war. ASG is making Atlanta unfit to even live in.

johndawg

June 24th, 2011
10:50 am

The ASG is a cancer on this city. I’m not attending anything at Phillips until they sell. I hope Seattle enjoys the Hawks… we did.

P F

June 24th, 2011
11:15 am

We are to believe this group? The same group that said that the Thrashers weren’t for sale, but had been trying to sell them since day one? The only thing this group wanted to do was to turn a quick buck. They don’t give a flip about ANY Atlanta fans.

BOB FROM ACCOUNT TEMPS

June 24th, 2011
11:39 am

FIRST – whatever drools from the mouth of the asg is the opposite of what is going to happen. SECOND – this bunch of make believe millionaires could not turn a profit with an arena popcorn stand. THIRD – they need to sell out completely.

Gary

June 24th, 2011
12:15 pm

@Puck….yes I know the board of governor’s for the NHL approved the sale, but the closing of the actual sale of assets to True North has not happened. It’s pretty much a done deal, but until the deal is closed, they cannot agree to a potential deal for the Hawks and Philips arena.

Sell Now

June 24th, 2011
12:40 pm

This ownership group needs to sell out now–they really have no clue how to run this business—just a bunch of millionaires thinking they can compete with the top minds in sports—it doesn’t work that way, in any business.

Rutherford Seydel

June 24th, 2011
1:20 pm

Does anyone have any respect for the ASG? I sure don’t. What a disaster.

Don

June 24th, 2011
1:21 pm

Total sale – they’ll keep denying anything’s happening until the press conference

Not one penny...

June 24th, 2011
2:15 pm

Full sale. When these clowns are gone, then I’ll support the Hawks again, attend an event in Phillips Arena and purchase products that sponsor the Hawks (no Philips products in my house, that’s for sure.)

hawks fan

June 24th, 2011
3:33 pm

People consistently talk about Arthur Blank and his great ownership of the Falcons. What exactly are you talking about? Lower tier payroll, lower tier attendance, no stars on the team (except the dogfighting dude), and one playoff victory every five years or so. The Hawks are a higher tier payroll team and actually go to the playoffs and win games. Yet everyone criticizes the owners just because they hear the AJC do it. Think for yourselves, people.

Puck Like A Porn Star

June 24th, 2011
3:56 pm

At least Arthur hired a competent GM. Has ASG ever done that?

ATL Observer

June 24th, 2011
7:35 pm

Tony Gonzalez is one of the best TEs to ever play the game! Roddy White is one of the Top 5 WRs today! What the hell? No stars? What cave are you living in? And with all due respect to the Hawks, a Hawks fan calling the Falcons on “lower tier attendance” would be like Verne Troyer calling Hervé Villechaize a shrimp.

And the Hawks make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, where at least four special ed kids get to advance every year.

KevinM

June 24th, 2011
11:34 pm

Note the ASG: this city loathes you!! All of you!!
Ride out of town on the horse that brought you in….Michael Gearon, you have disgraced your father’s passionate attempt to make you the head honcho!

Just go away! And take your Kobe jerseys with you!

J.Blackwell

June 25th, 2011
1:46 am

TOTAL SALE!!!!!!! Get rid of these clowns, “Atlanta Spirit” group!!!!! They OBVIOUSLY have NO Atlanta Spirit!!!! They have proven over the years that they are CLEARLY NOT fans of the teams they own!!!! Hiding behind a name like “Atlanta Spirit” isn’t fooling anyone!!! They care NOTHING about the Atlanta sports teams or their fans!!! They ONLY care about their own pockets. Get rid of these clowns!!!!! We should start an “ANTI-investment group team ownership” movement in Atlanta. A team does well when the owner is a fan of the team, period. Arthur Blank sure turned the Falcons around, BECAUSE HE’S OBVIOUSLY a fan! When the Braves were owned by Ted Turner, they were clearly different, always making a great blockbuster trade that kept them relavent among the league’s top contenders (and though, they are slowly but surely returning to a powerful team, it’s clearly not the same as it was in the 90s under Ted). What Atlanta needs is one of these many Georgia billionaires, that so happens to be a HAWKS FAN to buy the team from these “Atlanta Spirit” jerks… I mean, talk about POOR MANAGEMENT!!! Hawks didn’t even have a 1st round pick!!! 1st day of the free agency talks, Hawks throw all their money at Joe Johnson and NEVER EVEN threw their name into the pot to try to talk to all those superstars up for free agency!!! Don’t even show interest in trying to pull players to Atlanta… We OBVIOUSLY need a dominant big man presence in the paint, and everyone knows that Dwight Howard and Orlando have a shakey relationship (NOT to mention that D. Howard is FROM ATLANTA and friends with Josh Smith), yet we show absolutely NO interest (probably because we don’t have the money for him because we threw it all at Joe Johnson!!!)… Sorry for my rants, but I am a LIVID Hawks (and former Thrashers fan, R.I.P.) fan!!!! I HATE our ownership!!!! FULL SALE PLEASE!!!!!!!

J.Blackwell

June 25th, 2011
2:10 am

When an owner is a team fan, the team is successful… Hence, Mark Cuban and his Mavericks. Ted Turner and his Braves. The Steinbrenners (family, NOT INVESTMENT group) and their Yanks. The Rooneys (family) and their Steelers. Arthur Blank and his obviously better Falcons team than before. Peter Holt’s Spurs. Look at what Robert Kraft did for the Patriots! Look at how Ted Leonsis changed the Washington Caps!!! Jerry Buss’s Lakers. Mike Ilitch’s Wings… Point is, teams are successful when their owner is a clear FAN of the team, and not an INVESTMENT GROUP. They are more apt to care about bringing championships home whatever the cost, as oppose to just balancing their own books… And, though the team may not win championships every year, or even win right away, it is always clear what thier missions are. Falcons & Caps have yet to win, though any intelligent person can clearly see how different the teams are under the ownership of a team fan. Their times are coming, just like the Mavs… I wish ol Ted never sold the Braves…

J.Blackwell

June 25th, 2011
2:24 am

(@ TruthIsObvious) Our Hawks team COULD win 2 consecutive playoffs series, IF the team cared about getting better and not just being satisfied with making the playoffs!!! The teams that win always look to improve. They look for the answers to the reasons they lost a series the prior years. Mavs kept looking for an answer to their playoff woes, and finally found it (notice the difference in players since their first appearences in the players, and the players who finally won it. I think there were only 2 players remaining). Hawks seem to be just happy to make the playoffs again. No improvements. No talks of improvements. No talks of bringing any names to town that will draw fan into the stands to increase ticket sales. No interest in being relavent in talks of championship contenders… As long as they can pay their bills, they’re satisfied. SO DISGUSTED with the “Atlanta Spirit Group.” AND HOW DARE they call themselves “Atlanta SPIRIT!!!!” They have NEVER shown ANY Atlanta Spirit… Only greed, apathy and complacency. They represent the 3 evils that have plagued Atlanta sports over the decades!!! (guess it’s fitting they call themselves “Atlanta Spirit” then… We need to change that in Atlanta).

J.Blackwell

June 25th, 2011
2:35 am

hawks fan(s), stop being blind!!! Open your eyes!!! We that complain, are also Hawks fans, and FED UP with the poor ownership!!! This is a fast growing city, and it is about time for our sports to improve!!!
They say “most people from Atlanta aren’t FROM Atlanta,” and though that may be true, they live here now, and are raising their kids here who will be the future Atlanta fans. It’s about time the owners of our sports teams show an interest in developing those fans (because the alternative will be a city full of fans who were raised only to back the out of town teams their parents loved).
This is exactly how Los Angeles was 40 years ago when the saying went “nobody from LA is FROM LA.” The city was FULL of Giants (MLB) fans, Cowboys fans, Steelers fans, Browns fans, Pistons fans, etc… But over time, their Dodgers, Lakers and Raiders showed interest in winning, and the children of these LA Steelers fans grew to be Raiders fans. And the children of these LA Pistons fans grew to be Lakers fans. etc…
It is time for Atlanta to RISE UP!!!!!!!!

J.Blackwell

June 25th, 2011
12:26 pm

Here we go again… Hawks draft pick leaving everyone “scratching their heads.”
ASG are some clowns… The league’s laughing stock. They’re embarrassing Atlanta.

City Cash

June 26th, 2011
9:59 am

The city of atlanta needs to pump major cash into the team to make them competitive—a better team is good for the economy. The owners don’t have the cash necessary to get the top talent and coaches and make a big profit—it’s up to the city to raise sales taxes for a couple of years to generate a ton of cash to give to the hawks. They need to get it done, aSAP! I’m tired of these mediocre teams.

ASG fan

June 26th, 2011
2:04 pm

Everybody is complaining about ASG. They freed up Philips for Barney Live and disney on ice. IF they are looking for investors maybe Belkin will help them out and buy an interest. Time to come up with an organized protest and run these guys out of town. A NBA work stoppage will make Philips awful quiet this year.