Atlanta Hawks: ASG says Hawks not for sale

AJC wise guy Jeff Schultz weighed in on the latest report about the Atlanta Spirit Group’s supposed desire to sell the Hawks. The New York Post says ASG is looking to sell Philips Arena and the Hawks as a package deal and wants to unload the Thrashers separately.

Judging by the sports radio chatter this morning and blog comments in the past, Hawks fans would love it if ASG sold the team. But each time these stories flare up, ASG owners (when they’ve addressed the rumors) have consistently denied an interest in selling the team and insist they only want to take on investors. Micheal Gearon Jr. and Bruce Levenson released a statement today:

“As has been shared publicly for more than a year, we are interested in finding minority investors and have engaged a firm to assist us in that effort. We have no plans to move either team, and remain committed to the Hawks, the Thrashers, Philips Arena and the city of Atlanta.”

That’s not exactly a firm “We don’t want to sell the team,” though Gearon also e-mailed WSB-TV’s Zach Klein and said: “I have no interest in selling.”

It seems fans who want ASG to sell are dreaming of a deep-pocketed owner swooping in to spend big money on the franchise and provide one, clear voice for the direction of the team. But the chances of that happening are slim even if ASG is willing to part with the team because, think about it, apparently ASG is having trouble even finding proverbial minority investors.

It’s not an easy sell. The new owner(s) would have to continue to take short-term losses while believing there’s a chance to make money in the near future, an iffy proposition in the Atlanta market. Also, there just don’t seem to be many rich people running around looking to buy franchises nowadays. As the Post story notes, the Nets got “lucky” to sell the team to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov after an 18-month search–and that’s a team in the New York market that eventually play in Brooklyn.

So whether ASG is looking to take on investors or, as the Post says, sell the whole dang thing, first they need to find investors or buyers. Good luck with that.

MC

297 comments Add your comment

doc

June 18th, 2010
1:40 pm

ok then back to status quo. will the real cheap owners stand up. kidding

dare i say numero uno again?

northcyde

June 18th, 2010
1:44 pm

cheap owners . . . cheap fans . . . a perfect marriage.

doc

June 18th, 2010
1:46 pm

yes, two in a row, system working. kidding

i dont want these guys gone. i want them able to fund REAL competitive teams and spend about 10 to 15 mil more going forward if any of us expect to smell the gold ball as samuel referred to it. i know it will take good management and personnel even to get there under 80 mil, reality is, we arent going to get there at 65 mil under present conditions and the discerning buyer (like me, sorry) will lose interest when he realizes he is not spending wisely to see a team swept in round two and pushed to the limits against undermanned teams.

with that said, i hope belkin forks out what he owes, they find an investor and we walk off with the trophy in three years with marvin as the MVP. what did you shout rod?

Astro Joe

June 18th, 2010
1:47 pm

I think at best they are looking for someone to help them buyout Belkin. But my guess is that if someone insists on more than a 40% share, they won’t balk. What we clearly don’t want is an incremental owner to the 7 chefs already tripping over themselves in the kitchen. Gearon and Levenson are likely in it for the long haul but several others may be looking for the nearest exit.

@MC, any chance this could have an adverse affect on signing an elite FA with a desire to play for a franchise with the resources to compete for a title (he asked sarcastically)?

doc

June 18th, 2010
1:48 pm

only cheap fans i know are the ones in clarksville tn not spending a dime towards season tickets he could sell or give to a boy’s club if he couldnt use them.

doc

June 18th, 2010
1:49 pm

yeah, put your money where your mouth is or shut up about cheap fans.

doc

June 18th, 2010
1:50 pm

heh heh northcyde, you have plenty of more astute comments than that to keep that chatter going. ;-)

Michael Cunningham

June 18th, 2010
1:55 pm

@Astro Joe: @MC, any chance this could have an adverse affect on signing an elite FA with a desire to play for a franchise with the resources to compete for a title (he asked sarcastically)?

i doubt it (he answered in kind)

truthspitter

June 18th, 2010
1:57 pm

I’m thinking about moving to St.Louis I hope the Hawks move back there soon. Atl will not support that many black faces. Georgia is just as KKK infested as Indiana the originator

Melvin

June 18th, 2010
2:05 pm

doc,

don’t you just love it when you get folks complaining about fan participation and using their current location as the reason why they don’t attend games. As if attending the games are the only way to contribute. How about buying some Hawks paraphernalia and souvenirs thru the Hawks website at least….

NikkFree

June 18th, 2010
2:09 pm

Whatever, ASG! All I know is I’m tired of ownership making decisions based on what’s the cheapest option. the recent coach hire is one CLEAR example. It’s not the only one for sure. They need to seel the teams.

Astro Joe

June 18th, 2010
2:13 pm

I’m sure that the ASG aren’t the only NBA owners hanging my a thread while waiting for the promise of the new CBA to put them back on solid ground. But frankly, I don’t care about other owners and their problems. @MC, don’t worry about brushing up on your knowledge of local college players who are 1st round prospects. If I were you, I’d start studying the NBDL All Star team roster to determine if Thomas Gardner, Jeremy Richardson or Matt Frieje would be the better candidate to fill that desired shooter role that Pendergraft wants to fill. Coach Drew already knows those guys, so it would make for an easy transition. Time to find my Esteban Batista autographed Chick Fil A bag.

northcyde

June 18th, 2010
2:34 pm

How much money should I put up Doc? If I lived 30 minutes away from the arena, I’d no doubt be a season ticket holder. I wouldn’t even hesitate to do that. This is pretty much what I spend to attend a Hawk game

- Gas = $60 – $70 . . . Roughly a 560 mile round trip . . I loved it when gas dipped below $2 a few winters ago.

- Parking = $5 – $10 ( I don’t mind walking a little to get to the arena, if I can save a few bucks )

- Tickets = 200 level – $55 – $70 ( depending on the game )

- Concessions = $11 . . . I get that grilled chikcen sandwich and a sprite every time.

Total = $131 – 161 . . . I try to make 7 – 10 games a year. So you’re looking at about a $1,000 – $1,600 investment I’m making going to Hawks games,which is about equivalent to buying a season ticket package in the 200 level.

Doc . . that’s actually a good idea you bring up. I could buy a season ticket package in the 200 level for $999 + tax of course. On the Hawks website, they claim that it’s equal to $23 a ticket.

Hawks 6-month payment plan is as follows:

TODAY – 15% initial payment
2ND MONTH – 15% payment
3RD MONTH – 15% payment
4TH MONTH – 15% payment
5TH MONTH – **50% of the playoff value
6TH MONTH – **50% of the playoff value

So if I were to get a season tix plan in the 200 level at $999, you’re looking at roughly paying between $150 – $175 per month, before the prices for the 5th and 6th month rates click in?

No way I could make it to every game . . . lol . . not even 20% of those games. But I possibly could recoup some money back off of the games that I didn’t make, by selling the tix at say $30 a pop . . even less for some games, just to get some money back ( which would be about be about 40% – 70% less than price of a regular ticket in that section )

Shoot . . . at $999 . . . if I made even made back $350 off the tickets I would sell back to potential buyers, that would reduce that package to almost $600?

I’ve always thought about getting tickets strictly from a consumer standpoint, and not as a potential seller.

Damn . . . I think I’m going to seriously look into that. Thanks Doc.

N.D.T.K.A.

June 18th, 2010
2:35 pm

I wonder why the Falcons are not struggling financially? Arthur Blank is one owner who can afford his team and probably several others. Falcons owner is also a smart business man who caters to his fans. Say what you will fans matter? Makes me think of the expression what you put into something is what you get back. Cheap = Cheap. Just great, they want to add investors, I wonder will they have to check with the minority investors before they make decisions. Disfunctionalism at its best!!!

JC

June 18th, 2010
2:35 pm

@Astro – “Esteban Batista autographed Chick Fil A bag” I’m guessing it was empty?

Ramon

June 18th, 2010
2:39 pm

@ Northcyde, my wife is about to be made when she sees the new budget for the fall/winter lol. I live in Macon, and want to get some season tickets.

northcyde

June 18th, 2010
2:41 pm

Melvin

June 18th, 2010
2:05 pm

doc,

don’t you just love it when you get folks complaining about fan participation and using their current location as the reason why they don’t attend games. As if attending the games are the only way to contribute. How about buying some Hawks paraphernalia and souvenirs thru the Hawks website at least….

**********************

- white JJ jersey
- white Marvin jersey
- blue Horford jersey
- red Smoove jersey

- 4 hats

- 3 t-shirts

I’m not a casual fan dude. People must think I’m just talking a lot of ish on this board.

JC

June 18th, 2010
2:41 pm

Nail on the head, northcyde – cheap ownership begets cheap fans.

If you’re going to see an action movie, do you want to see the one with the $100 million budget with all the cool CGI and special effects, or the one made on a shoestring budget where you can see the boom in all the shots?

Ramon

June 18th, 2010
2:43 pm

ILL-logical

June 18th, 2010
2:45 pm

Astro Joe

June 18th, 2010
2:13 pm
I’m sure that the ASG aren’t the only NBA owners hanging my a thread while waiting for the promise of the new CBA to put them back on solid ground

And there it is : the context in which all of the drama surrounding the Hawks has got to be viewed- it’s the economy,stupid.

Until/ unless the economy gets better,especially from a subjective viewpoint, the Hawks are going to operating at the margins fiscally.
So your eyes may water and your teeth may grit but what you see is what you’re going to get.(with humble apologies to the late ,great Ron Banks)

Najeh Davenpoop

June 18th, 2010
2:48 pm

Astro Joe, Anthony Grundy and Cedric Bozeman are very upset that you forgot about them.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 18th, 2010
2:50 pm

northcyde, it’s one thing to be a devoted fan, but buying a Marvin jersey is just stupid.

JC

June 18th, 2010
2:52 pm

@Illogical – you must have just moved here. ASG’s cheapness started way before the economic downturn. Actually, it may have even caused it.

JC

June 18th, 2010
2:54 pm

Yeah, northcyde, I went to UNC and I still wouldn’t buy a Marvin jersey. Sorry, dude.

northcyde

June 18th, 2010
2:54 pm

I’m seriously doing some math over here. The Hawks season ticket package is for 44 games ( I’m assuming that you’re talking about 3 preseason home games as well as the 41 regular season games ).

I’m only going to be able to physically make 7 – 10 games in the regular season. So let’s knock that down to say . . 33 regular season games I won’t be able to make.

If I sell those tickets at an average of $25 a pop, I can make $825 off of those games? Damn . . no wonder you have those ticket guys outside of the arena, selling tickets. They buy the season ticket package at a cheap rate, and sell them for face value or even more . . making 200% or more for what they paid for the tickets?

That’s a hell of a hustle, if you’re able to move tickets.

bigdave

June 18th, 2010
2:55 pm

northcyde

June 18th, 2010
2:56 pm

LOL @ being dissed for buying a Marvin jersey. That was actually the 2nd jersey that I bought after JJ’s jersey. No . . what would’ve been stupid, would be to buy an Acie Law jersey, which I almost did that night, instead of the Marvin jersey.

JC

June 18th, 2010
2:58 pm

@Northcyde – here’s the problem with your idea – for every weekend game against the Celtics or Lakers, there’s five Tuesday night games against the Bobcats or Pacers. You can’t give those tickets away.

northcyde

June 18th, 2010
3:01 pm

JC . . wins are supposed to excite fans. But it hasn’t done that in Atlanta. Fans want to go from nobody to championship level, before going through all of the trials and tribulations that teams usually go through.

Unless we’re able to do like Boston or LA, and trade for a borderline superstar player that a team doesn’t want, we’re going to have to claw our way to the top.

It is what it is in ATL though. Spending money just to be spending money isn’t the solution. ATL needs to be “excited”. I guess some fans would rather be excited and be a 45 win team . . than to be bored sometimes and be a 53 win team. Either way, both teams are probably not winning a title, so the apathy will still remain.

But I won’t get into all of this again. Ya’ll know my position on this.

Hawk n the Ham

June 18th, 2010
3:03 pm

About Jordan Crawford and the Draft.

I was looking at Chad Ford’s mock draft, and he doesn’t even have Crawford going in the 1st round.

I hope whatever the Hawks do, it’s not another forward like all the mock drafts I’ve seen.

Ramon

June 18th, 2010
3:04 pm

Here’s a question. I wonder would Philly take Crawford and Marvin or Zaza for Iguodala. Philly would get a scorer with an expiring contract. And we would get a great runmate for Joe.

James

June 18th, 2010
3:05 pm

I am beyond tired of everybody knocking on the Atlanta “market”. We are one of the larger media markets in the country. If you don’t believe me, do a simple web search and you will find plenty of material to support this statement. This city has the population to support a sports franchise to the level of any other city. The Hawks do not lose money because we have a poor market. They can’t get fans in the seats because we don’t have a good vibe with this team. Not a week passes that the owners of the team are not engaged in a legal battle, scrounging/begging for money, or making an obviously cheap move. The Falcon’s under AB don’t have any problem selling tickets, with VERY similar post season results. I don’t even think the average Hawks fan expects us to go outspend the Mark Cuban’s of the league. We just want the team to spend competently and competitively. By the basketball gods good graces we have managed to post winning seasons without going into luxury tax levels like other teams. Pretty sure by the time Al’s rookie contract is up the ASG people might be resorting to bake sales and car washes to keep the lights on…

northcyde

June 18th, 2010
3:06 pm

JC

June 18th, 2010
2:58 pm

@Northcyde – here’s the problem with your idea – for every weekend game against the Celtics or Lakers, there’s five Tuesday night games against the Bobcats or Pacers. You can’t give those tickets away.

***********

And that is the problem with the fan base in a nutshell. Going to those type of games would almost mean an automatic win for the Hawks. You’ll probably get to see our guys play a great game. But because the fans need the excitement of watching a “big” game, those games get passed over, and the ownership loses money.

When I saw that arena only about 75% full for the MLK Day game vs Oklahoma City, I already knew what that was about. OKC wasn’t “exciting” enough yet, even though the Hawks were still a top 5 team in the NBA at the time.

The fan loyalty just isn’t there for us.

JC

June 18th, 2010
3:31 pm

@northcyde – you said it best. “It is what it is.” The southeast will always be college football fans.

There’s only so much time and effort you can put into caring about sports, and if you’re excitedly tweeting every time Mark Richt farts, you aren’t going to have it in you to care about what’s going on with the Hawks.

Big Ray

June 18th, 2010
3:35 pm

Somebody get our resident “Fire Woody” t-shirt maker Clyde to make a t-shirt for Northcyde .

On the shirt it should say “Hawks Fans Stink! Come to more games, or at least buy more tickets you cheapskate M*#%er@*^%#ers!”

He can then wear it to every game he goes to, and should make him feel better. We’ll even point him out to the kiss cam.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

JC

June 18th, 2010
3:39 pm

@Big Ray – yeah, and then he could kiss Bruce Levenson’s @ss (just kidding, buddy).

JoJo the Godfather

June 18th, 2010
3:42 pm

Ramon…I’ve thought of Iguodala and I’ve also thought of Corey Maggette. GS would probably let Maggette go for Bibby & Evans. Would be a lot like the Crawford deal (they save $1M up front and $14M over next two years). There are definitely teams with worse wings than Marvin Williams, Corey Maggette, Joe Johnson (or Childress or free agent) & Jamal Crawford.

jroc

June 18th, 2010
3:42 pm

Atlanta is big enough to be a college football city, a nfl city, a baseball city, or a nba city. The problem is that the fans in ATL just want to see the hawks play a team in the regular season that exites them just like northcyde stated. For some strange reason the fans in ATL only have a championship or bust mentality when it comes to the hawks.

Long-Suffering Hawks Fan

June 18th, 2010
3:50 pm

The Atlanta Spirit Group is the “Barack O. Bama” of professional sports ownership:

Big Ray

June 18th, 2010
3:54 pm

The southeast will always be college football fans.

Nice to know some people recognize this. Fair or not, it’s the truth. And you don’t build a loyal fan base overnight. It takes years. Ask the Braves.

This last season was the Hawks second winning season in a row. Winning around here is NEW again. What about the previous 4 seasons?

The postseason performance in ‘07-’08 was the best we’ve seen in how long? Losing in a 7 game series as a serious underdog to the eventual champions that year was the best postseason basketball this team has played in quite some time. It was better, more competitive, and more exciting than the last two years, wherein we struggled our way to a 4-3 series win over inferior teams, then were unceremoniously crushed by superior teams, while failing to compete in any way, shape or form.

Do cheap fans make cheap owners, or is it the other way around? This ownership group came in here and messed things up from the start. They have branded themselves as petty, cheap, and a million other things, and they couldn’t keep it out of the spotlight. That practically kills all kinds of marketing.

In a place like Atlanta, there are established competitive sports markets. You can’t fubar things like that and expect to thrive. Not enough people are interested enough in the Hawks. That’s the way it is. It’s not like they are all sitting around with nothing to do while complaining about the Hawks. They are going to Braves games, Falcons games, and college games most of all.

The cart never functioned well in front of the horse. Part of the issue, believe it or not, is the star power. Like it or not, people would have been much more excited if Marvin Williams or one of our other high draft picks turned out better. Look what CP3 did for New Orleans. Imagine if he had been playing here . Yes, people do need to be excited about something. You have to sell the product. 47 wins and 53 wins is a start. But it ain’t nowhere near a finish, and with the last two postseason appearances, it makes it hard for the casual fan to get more involved, when they don’t see a reason to believe that the next season might be more fruitful or entertaining.

Because in the end, this is about entertainment.

jroc

June 18th, 2010
3:54 pm

Iguodala or Maggette would not help the hawks out a bit in the playoffs.Yeah they will be exiting to watch but neither of those guys would give the hawks that championship edge.If i were the hawks i would go hard at a vetern like Ray Allen or Kurt Thomas.If the hawks sign jj they will have their core guys intact.Fans don’t beg for the team to go backwards you are just where you want to be, a top team in the east thats on the rise.Tweak the roster a little bit management but don’t over-haul the good young talent that you got.

Ramon

June 18th, 2010
3:56 pm

Jojo, if Golden State would do that, the Hawks should jump on that deal. Only thing is I like Iguodala more because he’s younger, and actually tries on defense. I don’t think Maggette’s played defense since the last time he was in Coach K’s huddle. lol

Big Ray

June 18th, 2010
4:01 pm

jroc ,

For some strange reason the fans in ATL only have a championship or bust mentality when it comes to the hawks.shaming or insulting. Not that you would do anything like that, of course.

Painting with a broad brush. Plenty of Hawks fans are diehards and support the team as they are able to. Who you’re talking about is the casual fan. How do you recruit the droves of casual fans, which probably outnumber the diehard fans 3 to 1? I don’t know for sure, but I’ve never seen shaming or insulting work. What it does is pi$$ off the real fans who keep hearing “this fan base isn’t worthy” and other such comments. Just saying…and I think some people have a b!tch of a time understanding that concept…

Clyde

June 18th, 2010
4:01 pm

Some of yall just don’t understand. People that are really from Atlanta are use to losing. We expect the Hawks, Braves, and Falcons to lose due to their history of losing. We only have one championship in 30+ years. So why do people call us bad fans when we expect them to lose?

JoJo the Godfather

June 18th, 2010
4:04 pm

Supporting a sports team in a city with multiple entertainment sources comes down to star players & identifying with management & ownership. The Hawks offer none of these things. I would bet that if Arthur Blank bought the Hawks, hired Charles Barkley as his GM, signed Iverson, Shaq & T-Mac, and lost 50 games next year, that ticket sales & jersey sales would increase.

jroc

June 18th, 2010
4:11 pm

The hawks have fans all over the southeast and if management would market the team better the fan base would grow even larger.How about offering 5,10,or 20 home game ticket packages for fans.I live 3 hrs from ATL in Josh Smiths fathers hometown and when i go to hawks games i have the liberty to pick and choose what games i want to attend.With a package for fans outside of atl you will have more fan support at the games.And you can play more of your preseason games in other cities like Columbus,Savanah,Agusta,Albany,Birmingham,Columbia,Chatanooga, etc. and offer ticket packages when they play in those cities and i bet you over a few years fan support at regular season games will grow.

JoJo the Godfather

June 18th, 2010
4:12 pm

Maggette is a lot like Crawford, he’s been on some bad teams, and he hasn’t had too many coaches in is ear talking defense either. Does anyone on GS (or those old Clips teams) play D? Mixing and creating matchups with those 4 could work, especially if you only have to give up Bibby & Evans.

doc

June 18th, 2010
4:15 pm

northcyde, honestly i was going to suggest just that about selling your tix to make profit as i gave you the write off potential to a not for profit service organization. i figured reading your comments you would be sophisticated enough to figure it out on your own. nice job, now when is the date you call someone up. i can give you my reps phone no. of you want to speed up the process. bryan would probaly like to hear from somebody, anybody right now.

btw, i couldnt sell my spurs or magic tix down the stretch though i was going to be ut of town so it is difficult to say the least. you need kobe, cels or labron to sell em.

jroc

June 18th, 2010
4:16 pm

Big Ray that wasn’t my full quote

Midtown Mike

June 18th, 2010
4:19 pm

I dont care what they do as long as they dont trade Mike Bibby. He’s cute, no homo.