The NHL wasn’t happy with the Atlanta Spirit when they owned the Thrashers. The NBA never has been thrilled with them as Hawks’ owners, either. But the league and Atlanta may be stuck with them a little longer.
Our Tim Tucker is reporting that the proposed sale of the Hawks from the Atlanta Spirit to Los Angeles businessman Alex Meruelo has hit a “significant snag.” You generally can read that as financial.
Tucker noted last week that the league approved the sale of the Philadelphia 76ers but would offer no update on the Hawks’ sale. Now we know why.
Meruelo, whose purchase of the team was announced Aug. 7, subject to league approval, did not deny that the deal might be in trouble in a statement but he maintains that he has the resources to purchase and run the team: “I have more than ample resources to purchase and operate the Hawks in a first-class manner. I am committed to the purchase of the Atlanta Hawks. While I can’t comment on the details of the approval process, I have and will do everything I can to bring the process to a positive conclusion.”
Here’s my first thought: Not again.
Many of the Spirit’s problems stemmed from partners battling each other, usually in course, and those issues filtered down to the sports franchises. It significantly affected the perception of the franchises, hurting the product and even attendance. The Spirit is a damaged brand at this point and new ownership is needed.
Meruelo doesn’t bring any guarantees as to how good of an owner he would be, but he certainly would provide a needed new face in the executive suite.
In short, this would be bad news.
By Jeff Schultz