Will success of Hawks, Thrashers alter our view of Spirit?

That's Steve Belkin on the (Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com)

All for one? Notsomuch. That's Steve Belkin on the far right and the non-Belkins to the left. More often than not they haven't played as a team. (Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com)

We are now witnessing the Atlanta Spirit’s alternate universe.

The Hawks are winning, having started Thursday tied for the NBA’s best record. The Thrashers are winning, already having more victories than they had by mid-December last season. The attorneys are winning, having backed Steve Belkin into a corner with seemingly only two undesirable options: pay back millions for ownership’s past  financial losses just to stay in the group, or walk away with nothing.

“I’m sleeping a little better because I don’t have the Belkin lawsuit hanging over my head any more,” owner Michael Gearon said. “But honestly, I’ll sleep a lot better when more fans start showing up in the building.”

And therein lies the problem. All is good on wood and ice. But Gearon suspects the problems at the box office, notwithstanding a Hawks’ sellout Wednesday night, can be attributed to more than just an economic downturn. In short, he believes some fans have been slow to embrace the two winning teams with their wallets at least in part because the ownership group has been perceived as such a punch line through most of its tenure.

It’s not quite, “I don’t want to eat at Bones because they just got purchased by Chef Boyardee.” But that’s kind of the idea.

Michael Gearon is enjoying his teams' success.

Michael Gearon is enjoying teams' success.

“I think there’s a perception of us out there that’s based on things that are said and written about us in the media, and that makes it harder,” Gearon said.

Harder to embrace the teams?

“Yes, absolutely.

“When I go to NBA meetings, everybody tells us we’re doing a great job and they want to build their teams just like us. But locally all I hear is that we’re a bunch of dysfunctional guys.

“People don’t buy tickets because of the owners. They buy because of the teams. But it certainly would help if we were perceived favorably.”

How significant is the issue? Significant enough that when I asked Gearon if he considered re-branding the ownership group and doing away with the “Atlanta Spirit” name, he responded: “Absolutely. When we made some management changes a couple of year ago, which I think was the right thing to do [and resulted in the exit of CEO Bernie Mullin], I asked that question: ‘Why do we keep using the name, Atlanta Spirit?’ We’re not a team. Nobody cares about us and we have a negative image. People care about the Hawks and Thrashers. I even went as far as looking into changing our e-mail addresses. But it just got to be too difficult.”

Instead, Gearon said, the ownership name now is seldom referenced and he’s hoping the name fades into the background.

“What we’ve tried to do now is, we’re not out there actively saying, ‘Atlanta Spirit,’” he said. “It’s a non-entity. We’re focusing on the Hawks and Thrashers. The Spirit name is dying slowly.”

All baggage aside, Philips Arena now houses two competitive and entertaining products. The Hawks are 10-2 and look like they’ve cracked the NBA’s elite. The Thrashers are a respectable 10-6-2. Their future probably hinges more on the status of Ilya Kovalchuk’s impending free agency than the Hawks’ future does with Joe Johnson, but there’s a young, core group of players now to build with.

Gearon probably is correct when he talks about the Spirit hangover. But the assumption is that eventually, the product sells. Wednesday’s game against Miami was a sellout. But the Hawks’ attendance average of 17,192 per game ranks only 17th in the NBA. The Thrashers’ average of 13,510 ranks 28th in the NHL. Both of those figures also are significantly padded by giveaways and discounts.

Still, if you’re Gearon, this is relative nirvana. A Hawks’ fan since his youth, he got into ownership because he wanted to win, and because what fan wouldn’t want to own a team if they had the resources?

He’ll tell you, “I didn’t buy a sports team to be sued and be perceived as a negative.”

He’ll also tell you, “I have thick enough skin. I don’t mind criticism.”

I suppose both can be true.

“We’ve had a lot of people take shots at us,” he said. “It’s been challenging for me at times as an entrepreneur and a competitive person. But the teams are doing well now. I wish we would we get recognized for what we’ve done.”

The teams are winning. Ultimately, that is what everybody wants. If success continues, Gearon will get his wish.

90 comments Add your comment

"Chef" Tim Dix

November 19th, 2009
10:13 am

Alone with my thoughts…

Steve Brown

November 19th, 2009
10:14 am

If Kovy and Johnson aren’t resigned or traded prior to the traded prior to leaving for nothing then this season will be sound and fury signifying nothing. An ownership group without the money to sustain the hope of an ultimate championship team will not be able to “fool” fans into the stands with a winning record but no future. Fans could care less about “The Spirit,” they just want a real chance of winning it all, at least once in a blue moon.


November 19th, 2009
10:15 am

Long term success is what will be needed. The image of the ASG will not be improved by hit and miss success (winning seasons) and playoff appearances. Also, the experience at Philips needs to be improved, i.e. concessions not being open and running out of stock. Also, they MUST sign Kovy to an extension to have any hope of building a larger hockey fan base.

Tokyo Tom

November 19th, 2009
10:15 am

Not to mention that Phillips Arena is operating in the black- maybe all will turn out well for the Atlanta Spir…er, I mean, the Hawks/Thrashers/Arena Ownnership Group

"Chef" Tim Dix

November 19th, 2009
10:18 am

The Phillips Group, LLC is generic enough to be forgotten.

Sadly for the aforementioned I just just trademarked the name.

BTW it’s for sale.


November 19th, 2009
10:31 am

How about they go a step further and not only re-sign our superstars but put money into the arena itself? It’s 10 years old now, and while still relatively young by arena standards, it hasn’t had any upkeep what so ever. Please put in some modern score boards and fix that hideous wall of faded tvs. Also hire compentent staff to work concessions. The game experience at Philips is better now at it’s core since the sports product are vastly improved, but everything outside of the product itself is crap.

Sign Kovy, fix the arena, and show stability and sutainable success and we’ll come back.

The Grinch

November 19th, 2009
10:31 am

I would comment, but the last two elegant, insightful posts I submitted that dared mention the name Billy Knight (despite not using particularly bad language) didn’t get posted. I don’t expect this one too, either so I won’t bother elaborating.


November 19th, 2009
10:34 am

As with any sport..winning cures all ailments from the top down.

F-105 Thunderchief

November 19th, 2009
10:35 am

Hey, Gearon, it is the economy, stupid! Many people aren’t working. Others are working with furloughs and the threat of layoffs. Heck, just north of the metro in Carpetland, they are pretty much in need of an airlift of food and supplies. Really. It’s a value-menu world out here my rich little friend.

Pete Orr

November 19th, 2009
10:36 am

5 1/2 years later something good is happening for this dysfuntional group. Just hope in mid April we are still talking about these two teams being good, and getting ready for a long playoff run.

The Grinch

November 19th, 2009
10:42 am

Huh, so “Billy Knight” isn’t a catch word that automatically gets filtered; that makes it even more confusing. Anyhoo, if the Spirit hadn’t done everything on the cheap in FA and taken ten years of top 10 picks (with both teams) to build rosters that have now looked good for three weeks (almost ANY other team in either sport could’ve done so in five minimum), then we might have more reason as fans to believe in them.

Don’t get me wrong, I love what both teams have become. I just don’t trust the concept of a group of high-ego businessmen (that are neither individually nor collectively worth enough money to run these franchises competitively/consistently in the long term) making smooth, collective decisions without constantly wrangling over money and differing opinions of how things should be done.

These guys MAY be capable of doing it, but they haven’t much looked like it to this point and there’s probably a reason no other successful franchise in either sport operates on this model.


November 19th, 2009
10:43 am

not if the limited success is short lived. look to the franchises of the hornets, warriors, griz and the clips to know how quickly a dysfunctional franchise can seek its bottom rung class. we unfortunatly for now remain there unless there is a success period of 5 years to match the last ten. i am reminded of the saying even a blind squirrel can find an acorn jeff.

The Grinch

November 19th, 2009
10:45 am

And having to pay $85 a ticket for moderately good seats at Phillips and still having to deal with rude ushers doesn’t help the issue.

Jeff Schultz

November 19th, 2009
10:59 am

Steve Brown – Valid points.

Matt – Ditto, especially on Kovalchuk.

Tim Dix – Uh, Phillips electronics didn’t beat you to that?

The Grinch – “Billy Knight” posts don’t get deleted. My guess is you had something else in there that got flagged. … By the way, you’re not the first to mention rude ushers or concession workers to me, although I’ve never experienced that.


November 19th, 2009
11:02 am

It takes years to build a reputation and minutes to destroy one. And thus it takes even more years to build that reputation again. As great as the Thrashers have looked this season, it’s not even a fourth of the way complete. Even if we make the playoffs this season and re-sign Kovalchuk, it will all be meaningless if they bottom out payroll again next season or the one after that. Gearon is going to have to be patient.

I DO find it encouraging that more money is being spent by the Thrashers, both on player payrolls and behind the scenes, ie the addition of Dudley. I also find it extremely encouraging that we’ve been hearing predominantly from Gearon and less from Levenson who is perceived as the biggest tool of the bunch.

And I agree with the others that they need to start addressing the issues at the arena – service needs to be better, the food needs to be better, the facilities need to be in working order.


November 19th, 2009
11:04 am

Sorry Michael, but years of questionable decisions, paralyzing legal battles, and growing distrust of ownership/management can not be overcome in a scant three or four weeks, even with success. Thrashers fans are begrudgingly admitting that good decisions have been made in the past year while many Hawks fans are warily optimistic about the team and its coach. Frankly, many of us are going to need to see a longer run of success (especially from the Thrashers) and a higher level of success (more so for the Hawks).

Add in to that equation the poor state of the economy, the high rate of unemployment here in the metro area, and the fact that it’s football season, and you have a tough hill to climb. If the band wagon doesn’t start to build early in the new year, then you have some worries.


November 19th, 2009
11:07 am

Keep me straight – what have these teams won other than 10 games apiece to start their seasons? Is that supposed to make up for years of mismangement & ineptitude overnight? Not to mention top-dollar ticket prices. Pardon me if I don’t join the stampede just yet……

Sage of Blueland

November 19th, 2009
11:10 am

I admit it: I hate ASG a little less, now that both teams are off to great starts.


November 19th, 2009
11:13 am

Winnng will put fans in the seats. As a Thrasher STH since the beginning I feel I have been through more thin than thick just as the ASG has been. There are a lot of other loyal STH’s of both the Thrashers and Hawks who would like to see the ownership questions put to rest. Winning on a more consistant basis will breed a short memory of past difficulties.

Kovy needs to be signed ASAP not only to show the fans ownership is serious about winning but also will show the players that ownership is serious about winning. It will also show everybody that the Thrashers are just as important as the Hawks are to this group.

Some big steps were taken this past off-season with the Thrashers. I hope it continues.


November 19th, 2009
11:14 am

You must be getting material from Mark Bradley, I asked “How bout them Atlanta Spirit now?” last night on the hawks blog. I am very humbled you chose to write an article on it. Nicely done

the Fish

November 19th, 2009
11:15 am

After 10 years of supporting mediocrity at its finest, I finally gave away my perfect Thrasher season tickets this year and have no regrets whatsoever. When The Don called me to ask what could he do to get us to renew, I told him I’d make him a deal. I would buy the tickets if he would guarantee that the Thrashers would make the playoffs. If they made it, great; keep my 10G. If not, then refund my money. After 10 years of garbage, I was asking him to stand behind his product; a warranty, so to speak. Needless to say, he said he couldn’t do that and we parted ways. I wish the Sprit the best of luck, but I’m done with them.


November 19th, 2009
11:16 am

Even better than changing the name “Atlanta Spirit” would be to change the Hawks’ logo: I love the new uniforms and color scheme, but they should ditch the hawk with the outspread wings and go back to the old pacman hawk from the Dominique era.

Other than that, congratulations to the ownership group. It’s been a rough ride, but they were patient and they’ve built an exciting young basketball team that’s winning on the court.

10 yr plan

November 19th, 2009
11:20 am

One key ingredient with both franchises is stability. Although I’m not sold on Woodson, Rick Sund has done a masterful job tweaking the Hawks. I also like the way he stays in the background and just does his job. As for the Thrashers, they finally have a coaching staff that the players respond to. JA and company have done a great job creating a more positive enviroment. Also, the hiring of Dudley has doubled the overall knowledge/evaluation of talent in the front office. We’ll see how it all works out with Kovy as I remember DW saying that he’ll be signed by Christmas(Don you have 5 weeks).

All I'm Saying Is...

November 19th, 2009
11:27 am

The ASG needs to have some patience as consistent winning by their teams will solve everything at the box office especially now that they are no longer publicly embarrassing themselves. (With winning, fans will even put up with some customer service shortcomings — although I’ve not personally experienced any rude ushers or out-of-stock concessions — in the short term although those things have to be addressed.)

I mean let’s not forget how short our on ice and on court success has been.

By season’s end, Hawks should have two years in a row of a winning regular season record and, hopefully, a second consecutive year of winning a playoff series.

Thrashers have had one winning season in their history (scratching my head but I think that’s right) and I don’t remember them having two winning seasons ever let alone consecutively. Plus they have yet to win a playoff series or even a playoff game if memory serves.

So, winning this year and then resigning Kovy (absolute must for Thrashers) and, in my opinion, Hawks resigning JJ will truly show that ASG is committed to winning and winning championships giving fans tangible reasons to believe and buy in.




November 19th, 2009
11:35 am

Ah come on Jeff, you should know that owners, coaches and execs are only talked about when things aren’t going the way fans want. Players are supposed to get all the credit when things go well, but none of the blame when they aren’t.


November 19th, 2009
11:38 am

I think one thing to remember is that the current Hawks weren’t built in 10 games – it’s taken years to build this team from scratch. Some very good decisions were made (drafting Josh Smith and Al Horford, trading for Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby, and Jamal Crawford, signing Zaza Pachulia, keeping Woodson and the core of this team together so that they could become cohesive) and some very bad decisions were made (passing on Chris Paul or Deron Williams, drafting Shelden Williams, drafting Acie Law, signing Speedy Claxton, suing each other, etc.). In the end, though, it appears the ASG has been able to overcome most of those mistakes and turn them into positives (somehow, someway, the Hawks were able to trade away mistakes like Speedy Claxton, Acie Law, and Shelden Williams and turn them into Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford, plus Marvin has been an underrated part of this team with his size and athleticism; missing on CP and DW might have actually made us deeper in the end and allowed us to get Al Horford – unintended consequences, I suppose; and it looks like the ownership picture is finally clearing up). We definitely need to keep Joe next year – if we can do that, there’s no reason the Hawks shouldn’t have a great 4 year run with Joe, Marvin, Josh, and Horford as the core.


November 19th, 2009
11:39 am

Hmmm…my other post got eaten.

All I’m Sayin’ – the Thrashers had consecutive winning seasons in ‘05-’06 and ‘06-’07.

I think everyone has summed it up pretty well. The success hasn’t been sustained enough to provide a sense of security to the fanbases. It will take more time for word to spread to the general public that the Thrashers are having a good season (hint hint AJC). It’s all well and good that the Spirit did the right thing and spent some money on the Thrashers payroll this season and re-signing Kovy will be a positive sign as well. However, the cynic in me says that once they have Kovy’s signature on a contract, what’s to keep them from bottoming out payroll again next season. Fact is, revenues could be suppressed just because of the economy – I don’t want excuses about poor attendance means they can’t spend the $$. They may have to absorb some more costs for a couple season before everyone buys in.

As the old adage goes, it takes years to build a reputation, seconds to destroy one and they spent years destroying theirs. It’s going to take years again to rebuild it. They are off to a good start – they’ve put some $$ in, the teams are successful right now, Levenson has been silenced (that’s a big PR win right there). Put some money into the arena – no excuse for lack of concessions, poor product, and non-functioning facilities. Patience is now the name of the game. The fans have put up with a lot the past few seasons – now it’s Spirit’s turn.

Reid Adair

November 19th, 2009
12:06 pm

I think you’re right, Jeff. It’s going to take the naysayers and doubters some time before they’ll admit that one or both franchises have turned the corner. You can see it now when people say things about the Hawks like, “It’s just the first 12 games. Let’s see where they are at mid-season.”


November 19th, 2009
12:07 pm

i thought the Atlanta Spirit was the name of the women’s basketball team…


November 19th, 2009
12:10 pm

As many have said, winning and winning longterm will cure all types of issues.

Besides that, they need a real marketing department and much better regional advertising. How about a dozen or so large billboards around the metros interstates that simply expresses how well the Hawks and Thrashers are doing this season and ask people “where are you?” or “you need to be here”….”great deals and seats await you”? Something along those lines that just simply lets everyone around the city know what they’ve been missing since they have been away. I’m sure these billboard companies around town are hurting for business too, so I do not want to hear about how expensive it is. There is a big case of out of sight, out of mind in this city when it comes to the Thrashers and Hawks. Ownership has to spend some money to remind the casual fans the teams are still here and doing quite well at the moment.

bali smith

November 19th, 2009
12:12 pm

congrats to the whatever youwant to call the management team for having winning teams in November… great start. I think new scorboards would be nice and a new tv or two might also be nice.. I also think an upgrade as far as the two play by play announcers that we listen to on tv would also be nice..Bob beat em like a rented mule Rathmen and Dominck that kid is going to be good when he learns how to play Wilkins may be the two worst announcers I have ever heard.They do not do the Hawks justice. I think I would rather hear the sideline reporter do play by play. I kinda like Big country.. he seems real….. the others seem to workin for the money


November 19th, 2009
12:17 pm

I’ve got no ill feelings towards the Sprit. I like both of the Franchises. It took them a long time to get to this point. It’s unfortunate that in groups like thiers infighting is common. They are all super rich guys and they all think they are right all the time.

I don’t really give a rats behind about the ownership when they have two competitive franchises. I’m only frustrated when the teams are struggling. I’ll be going to some games if it’s 75 bucks a ticket though I’m going to be picking the best matchups and the best times to go for me personally.

We like pro sports in this town but I don’t think in any sport for more than a brief period we can ever be Edmonton in the 1980’s… we just don’t have that city dynamic.

I think we are absolutely an NBA city and people will be more apt to fill Phillips for the Hawks than the Thrashers even though they do a good job presenting them too.


November 19th, 2009
12:18 pm

I bet business picks up big time after football season.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 19th, 2009
12:18 pm

The number one thing that separates a good ownership from a bad one is the willingness to spend money on players. I don’t know much about the Thrashers, but so far the ASG has ante’d up in every instance to keep the core of the Hawks together and to add needed pieces. From that standpoint they are doing a fine job. I still don’t have as high of an opinion of the other owners as I do of Michael Gearon Jr. (who has always come across to me as the owner who cares most about the fan experience and the won-loss column), and who knows whether they will sustain this level of financial commitment long-term if/when the lawsuit ever gets resolved, but right now I have no complaints. Winning is the best deodorant.


November 19th, 2009
12:26 pm

The comments on here show what an uphill battle ASG faces. I do think we have to maybe give Woody and Billy some profs. They had a sound plan. They hit a few bumps in the road and made a few bad decisions, but they had a solid plan, stuck with it, and now we’re beginning to see the results. To some degree, the same things can be said about ASG. I think they had a pretty steep learning curve. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in the future. I think they have learned a lot about how to be good ownership.

And I still remember someone on TV saying the Hawks had wasted a first round pick on Josh Smith. You get some right. You get some wrong.


November 19th, 2009
12:29 pm


November 19th, 2009
12:26 pm
Good afternoon Mr. Schultz!!! I wondered where you were. We have not heard from you during the Hawks excellent start and the ESPN NBA #1 ranking this week!!! I thought you might write a positive article about Coach Woodson or Joe Johnson or any other positive angle you could have come up with given the excellent start. However I am not surprised you have not. Well just in case folks have missed my response from your last entry, I thought I would re-send it.

Jeff just leave the Hawks alone. Go write about something or someone else…I am begging you!!! They have great “karma” currently and the BEST thing that you could do for the team is stay as far away from them as possible. Mr. Bradley, Mr. Smith and Mr. Sugiura have them covered. Go win your pulitzer another way, seriously!!!


October 29th, 2009
4:07 pm
Well, well, well hello to “Hawk Nation” and I hope everyone had a good off season (even you Jeff although I was very surprised to see you were still with the paper…interesting). I wonder if there was another writer who wrote for the AJC who constantly criticized your writing and asked repeatedly to have you replaced and implied you have not done a good job even though things improved every year while you were there even to the point that you were among the the top 25% of the writers in the country. When not too long ago you were ranked at the absolute bottom, how you would like it?

I wonder if that writer would be “fair and balanced” (no pun intended) if every single frickin time they wrote about you, no matter what, the writer was saying how bad a job you are doing…hhhmmmm!!! Again, I wonder if you would think that writer had an agenda or it was personal. You have been an absolute jerk Jeff (seriously) when it comes to your balanced reporting on Woody. Not the Hawks or the current GM, just Wood…hhmmmm!!! With all of the current talent out there with Newspapers closing, cutting back and so forth, I am certain the AJC could find a much better writer than you and even you would have to agree to that, right? Take Tony K and Mike Wilbon to name a couple from our paper here locally and I know Tony has resigned from the Post. By the way, there talent would CRUSH yours. Why don’t I ever see you on any of the national shows for geust spots and expertise occasionally (like they do on the Sports Reporters or Around the Horn or the Colin Cowher show?), Just wondering?

Jeff, you should be removed, Fired!!! If I or you had a child in a physics or calculus class, who got off to a very, very slow start, and over the school year, studied hard, asked for help, kept working, met with the teacher, got some tutoring, stayed positive, formed a study group and over the year their grades got better and better and by the end of the school year was one of the top 8 students in a 32 student class, I and you would praise and compliment and really appreciate what they has accomplished!!! This is exactly what coach Woodson has done over a 6 year period with the Hawks. That is a hard job and he has done very well, given the degree of difficulty!!! Again, I live in a town, that has a football team, the Skins, whose coach and team has been terrible and we are not as hard on him as you are on Woodson. He deserves it, Woody does not.

Finally, that is why I agree with Russ, you are unfair, and if anyone should be replaced it’s you!!! In fact, I wish AJC ran a Poll; here are a couple of questions: should Jeff Schultz be fired? If AJC could get a top writer or whatever your position is, should he be replaced? Who thinks Jeff is fair and balanced in his coverage of coach Woodson. I am done with asking you to be fair, I have moved to wanting you fired!!! I wonder if the Mayor, Shirley Franklin, Mr. Brave, Hank Aaron, Mr. Hawk, Dominique, and the honorable Andrew Young feel the same as allot of us that you should be fired or at a minimum extremely unfair in your writing about coach. I am the “official band leader” for you being removed completely or to another part of the paper at a minimum. Again, I would feel a little different if you criticized other parts of the organization equally, then I could conclude it was not personal.

Kudos to Russ, Derek, Mitch!!! Remember the Big 3 (Boston, Cleveland and Orlando) are really, really good. The Hawks could win 50 plus games this season and be better than last year and still lose in the 2nd round and the season still be a whopping success and coach should get a ticker tape parade, c’mon who are we kidding, it was not long ago we were the Clippers and now we are like a Utah or better!!!

The American people

November 19th, 2009
12:33 pm

“Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” – President Obama.


November 19th, 2009
12:39 pm

Um, do they expect one good month to erase the years of stench that is in that building? For as slow as they are to admit that they did virtually nothing right in the last 5 years, they are eager to reap the “atta boys” 10-15 games into the season for both of their teams. One good month does not make the 10’s of thousands of dollars I have spent on tickets over the years seem like a wise decision.

Talk to me in the spring when we can revisit the standings and the playoff picture, and when I hear of a reasonable contract offers extended to Kovalchuk or Joe Johnson. Kovalchuk needs to be locked up long term for a lot of money… 8+yrs @ $11-$12 mil per… I know it is the player’s choice to stay or go — if they choose to turn down a GOOD offer, I can live with that. Otherwise, I’d expect both to be dealt prior to the end of the season, and to get something worthwhile in return.


November 19th, 2009
12:42 pm

Jeff, Could you provide more details of the sentence ” The attorneys are winning, having backed Steve Belkin into a corner….”. What are the scenarios and deadlines. Thanks.

"Chef" Tim Dix

November 19th, 2009
12:42 pm

©2004-2009 Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. All rights reserved

Er, no they didn’t.


November 19th, 2009
12:46 pm

ASG when teams losing: Dysfunctional! A disaster!
ASG when teams winning: Eccentric! Colorful!
Winning cures all ills.

Wayne stuck in AL

November 19th, 2009
1:01 pm

Read on Blueland Chronicle blog that Kovalchuk and Nik Antropov were shown on the Philips Arena board and the crowd didn’t even give them a smattering of attention or applause.


Part of it could be racial, but part of it could also being Atlanta Spirit’s/Thrashers horribly poor marketing.


November 19th, 2009
1:02 pm

I think there are three things keeping people away from games.
1. prices, a family of 4 can hardy go to a game even once a year, it’s almost like going on a vacantion. Tickets are very costly, even if you sit in the nose bleed section. Food, who can afford to eat, hot dogs $4or $5, cokes $3 and if you want a beer you better hope you can float a loan. Parking more money. Just how much will it cost, I ran out of number on my calculator.
2.Safety, it is not safe after dark to walk to your car, I have had my car broken in, I have tires stolen. I haven’t been held up yet but it will probably be soon. Parking is a issue, they have parking at Disney, Six Flags and other places, they have ample spaces and transportation to and from your car.
3.Winning, I think winning is not as much a problem as the above comments.
Maybe a new location, and for sure it should be affordable for a family.

Atl Hawk

November 19th, 2009
1:12 pm

Im just glad they are at the top this early in the season, in earlier years the hawks would be 4-23 through twelve games…..Lol

atlanta rocks

November 19th, 2009
1:42 pm


November 19th, 2009
1:45 pm

If I didn’t have season tickets for the Thrashers b/c I love the NHL – I wouldn’t have known either the Hawks or the Thrashers existed. Poor marketing, poor ownership- we may not be STH’s next year. We have been for 8 years.


November 19th, 2009
1:50 pm

I just hope we have good teams to watch in February and March. That would be a refreshing change.
Go Thrashers!

Wayne stuck in AL

November 19th, 2009
2:02 pm

RE: Poor marketing

“That’s the hockey way!”

WTF’s that supposed to mean? That might work in Canada or Minnesota, but in Atlanta??? Come on…

Tech Tony

November 19th, 2009
2:09 pm

You can take a decent looking woman but a bad person, dress her smartly, give her a nip or tuck here and there and she’s still a bad person which goes to spoil any aesthetic improvement.


November 19th, 2009
2:19 pm

Gearon and the Spirit need to grow up. He and the Group are not perceived to be good owners, but selfish individuals who are simply playing with their toys. Call me at the end of the season to see where the teams are in the standings.