Hawks’ sale is in peril — and that’s bad news we don’t need

Alex Meruelo says he resources to buy and run Hawks.

Alex Meruelo insists he has the resources to buy and run the Hawks.

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

Follow me on Twitter (@JeffSchultzAJC). Friend me on Facebook (Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC).

165 comments Add your comment

Reid Adair

October 26th, 2011
8:01 pm

we should have expected this

October 26th, 2011
8:06 pm

WE SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED THIS!

Brian

October 26th, 2011
8:06 pm

Until ASG is gone I will not step foot into Phillips Arena…..this is sad news for fans in Atlanta.

Time for a change.

jay

October 26th, 2011
8:11 pm

anyone have David’s number. he’s got extra cash now.

tmc

October 26th, 2011
8:15 pm

Figures. They couldn’t own a team and run it worth a damn.
Why would anyone think they could sell a team?
Atlanta Spirit = colossal failure.

JJ

October 26th, 2011
8:19 pm

Why is this news right now? There isn’t going to be an NBA game played for at least a year from now. Plenty of time to work all this out and let Merulos get everything in order.
If there was even a chance that an NBA game was going to be played anytime soon, this might be news.

ryan

October 26th, 2011
8:20 pm

Screw the NBA ASG is going to be the death of Atlanta sports teams .

Najeh Davenpoop

October 26th, 2011
8:21 pm

NOTHING goes right with the damn Atlanta Spirit. GET OUT OF OUR LIVES GEARON AND LEVENSON

ASG to HELL

October 26th, 2011
8:25 pm

Please don’t yell me that we have to deal with these losers for another year….They cost us our hockey team..I wouldn’t be surprised if they ruin basketball in Atlanta.

Greg

October 26th, 2011
8:25 pm

No wonder the NBA is on the verge of extinction

ASG to HELL

October 26th, 2011
8:25 pm

Enter your comments here*tell

chalkdawg4

October 26th, 2011
8:25 pm

Blind faith

October 26th, 2011
8:27 pm

Enter your comments hereAgree with Brian. Recognize they weren’t selling 100% which means either meruelo didn’t have money to exorcise ASG or they were unwilling to sell 100%. Both scenarios were scary Looks like the first scenario. Although ASG was trying to hide under the rock of being minority owners there were rumors they were heavily financing the purchase. A true white knight is needed to clear ASG out 100%. My guess is NBA has brains to agree. In meantime Philips is a nice empty facility.

ryan

October 26th, 2011
8:28 pm

Occupy Atlanta needs to go over to ASG and demand them to get the hell out .

ryan

October 26th, 2011
8:32 pm

Geeeeeeez Atlanta is becoming Cleveland Ohio of the south all we have now is the Atlanta Falcons .

Wayne stuck in AL

October 26th, 2011
8:32 pm

PLEASE LET THIS BE TRUE!!! I want to see Levenson and Gearon bled dry!!!

ryan

October 26th, 2011
8:35 pm

I hope they can get it work out but we saw what happened with the Thrashers so i am not getting my hopes up to much .

The Emperor Has No Brains

October 26th, 2011
8:40 pm

And people still blame Atlantans for the loss of the Thrashers? Look at the incompetent ownership we’ve been stuck with for nearly 10 years. I can’t even watch hockey anymore, thanks to that fiasco, and basketball is next! Way to step up Mayor Reed and Atlanta business leaders!

ryan

October 26th, 2011
8:41 pm

This is Ted Turner fault he sold the Braves , Hawks , Thrashers to the owners i blame him for this misery .

(STILL) 2-10 Against Ranked Teams

October 26th, 2011
8:50 pm

Who the EFFF cares!!! Good, I’m glad it won’t go through. I hope the EFFing ASG bleeds more money and I see Gearon and his bunch of a-holes at the unemployment line.

After they freakin’ stabbed the loyal Thrashers fans of this city in the back…..I pray that they lose EVERYTHING they own.

As for the Hawks, they suck!!! The NBA sucks!!! Hope the whole season cancels and those gangsta millionaires are thrown out on the streets!!

Please, please….some rich dude buy the Phoenix Coyotes and bring them to the Gwinnett arena!!

Najeh Davenpoop

October 26th, 2011
8:53 pm

Anyone who thinks the NBA is full of thugs and gangstas, aside from being a racist, clearly has never met an actual thug or gangsta.

Sage of Bluesland

October 26th, 2011
8:54 pm

Wait, so ASG has how many empty nights at Philips Arena? Serves them right!!

Knowing they’re losing money is the best news I’ve heard all month!! Frauds!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

October 26th, 2011
8:56 pm

Now me I’ve met plenty of thugs. On the down low of course.

Alex

October 26th, 2011
8:58 pm

Look y’all, i’m a pretty smart guy. I’m just keeping the funds in my account until stern and the rest of the yahoos get done screwing the players over.

Horsetoothedjackass

October 26th, 2011
9:05 pm

@ryan, Ted Turner had nothing to do with these sales, he didn’t own them at the time they were sold, Time-Warner owned them, as Ted had sold his empire to them. His son and his son-in-law are part of this clusterfark of an ownership group.

doc

October 26th, 2011
9:07 pm

alex i am looking forward to a check in the mail to reimburse me in full. the only way to go with no strings attached going further. no season and i have all my “investment” returned to be reinvested only after i know what the product will be.

jojatek

October 26th, 2011
9:07 pm

Never thought I would long for the days of Ted Turner. Say what you want, but “Captain Outrageous”, in his prime, was that weird uncle that we all somehow could identify with and be proud of… and really cared about Atlanta and its identity. If this sale falls through, it will be just another chapter in the tortured history of pro sports in Atlanta…

The “Atlanta Spirit”? What the hell is that??!!! I never understood it, and I live here in DC with at least some of that group. That’s not an owner… that’s our next WNBA franchise!!

There… now I feel better… ;)

BBQ MAN

October 26th, 2011
9:09 pm

first, the NBA is full of wannabe thugs and gangstas…… 2nd… so?

ASG must go

October 26th, 2011
9:09 pm

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha …breath……. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. Hey Gearon and Levenson. US Bankruptcy Court for Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is located at 75 Spring Street Atlanta Georgia 30303.

(STILL) 2-10 Against Ranked Teams

October 26th, 2011
9:09 pm

There’s Najeh the “pooper”…..pulling out the race card…..this gets so tiresome, (sigh!!)

NBA SUCKS!!!

doc

October 26th, 2011
9:10 pm

yeah sage, it would have been the only game in town for a while and i would have easily turned to hockey for sports entertainment. basg knows how to time the market all the while many ancillary businesses suffer greatly.

CONservative Johnson

October 26th, 2011
9:12 pm

The Hispanic version of Herman Cain’s “purchase” of the Hawks has seemed dubious from the start. He’s just someone being propped up by the ASG anyway. This sale will probably go down in flames just like Herman Cain’s sham of a presidential candidacy . . .

Laughing out Loud

October 26th, 2011
9:12 pm

Ya’ll are so funny. Ya’ll make me laugh out loud….Gangsters, thugs, rich dudes, yahoos, so offended personally, telling other people what top do with their money, running other people’s business, acting like you know it all…..it all just makes me laugh.

Section 303

October 26th, 2011
9:14 pm

Just when you thought it was safe to buy into a Hawks owner….D@mn! One thing after another with this organization. Here I was, looking forward to games at Philips without haveing to see Rutherford and the other silver spoon clowns.

(STILL)2-10 Against Ranked Teams, how was Najeh pulling the race card? Just because race was brought up doesn’t mean a race card was played. You’re really in a struggle to sound smart.

(STILL) 2-10 Against Ranked Teams

October 26th, 2011
9:17 pm

He he he he…..keep laughing, “laughing out loud”……..hope you keep laughing when the vans come to Philips and cart out that b-ball court piece by piece

I could give a rats tail……went to one Hawks game in 15 years here, now there’s 2.5 hours of my life I’ll never get back. Don’t watch it on TV……now if I want to see “body art” (tattoos), I’ll go to the museum……

(STILL) 2-10 Against Ranked Teams

October 26th, 2011
9:19 pm

Yup…..I pray that this “deal” goes down, ASG goes bankrupt……the Hawks??? Who cares????

matt from mn

October 26th, 2011
9:21 pm

This is just hilarious. ASG is so incompetent, they can’t even sell correctly. Tell me again how these jerks are successful businessmen?? Bankruptcy, here they come. Enjoy your deserted arena!

dj

October 26th, 2011
9:23 pm

HAHAHA I hope ASG is stuck with them while the lockout is going on. Just hemorrage the money baby. I hope all those guys go bankrupt.

Vain Jangling

October 26th, 2011
9:24 pm

This just in: Meruelo is taking in Steve Belkin as an equity partner. Yeah, you’re right. We should have seen that one coming. Although the ink isn’t yet dry on the operating agreement, they’ve already stopped talking. They’ll be filing suit against themselves before midnight. The only thing they can agree upon is that the date of Joe Johnson’s cash cow signing will now and forever more be known as, “a date that will live in infamy.” Film at eleven.

KevinM

October 26th, 2011
9:24 pm

I’m glad I have not bought into the ASG’s push to buy tickets yet.

This is not a group I want to support in thie city.

We have an inept group that run this franchise and it just might be karma for them to have to hang around and pay out for Joe’s contract.

DC

October 26th, 2011
9:26 pm

So there is still a chance that someone from St.Louis could buy the Hawks and return them to where they should be! St.Louis Hawks in 2012-13!

KevinM

October 26th, 2011
9:29 pm

These pizza guys sure have a lot of money to throw around…

Maybe I should have been selling pizzas all along……

Delbert D.

October 26th, 2011
9:35 pm

I pointed out when his name first came up months ago that his businesses are the kind that are typically part of organized crime enterprises. That post might not get me a Pulitzer Prize, though.I don’t have any evidence to back it up. It justs smells funny.

ryan

October 26th, 2011
9:36 pm

Well any way ASG sucks nothing ever seems to change its like Groundhog Day we have the Liberty group with Braves it never ends its hard to cheer for these teams anymore man if only Mr. Blank could help out .

Court

October 26th, 2011
9:37 pm

The Hawks have made it to the playoffs with this “bad ownership”. Not a penny will come out of my pocket if this sale goes through or not – so who is this “we” that doesn’t need “bad news” ?

Delbert D.

October 26th, 2011
9:37 pm

My post on MB’s blog:

Delbert D.

August 7th, 2011
4:45 pm

A pizza chain and casino owner? Better check him out with the FBI.

Former Hawk Fan

October 26th, 2011
9:39 pm

Thrashers would have been the only game in town this year, but the jerks sold them out from under us. I am truly thankful the NBA is on strike and Philips is empty.

R. Stroz

October 26th, 2011
9:40 pm

I smell more lawsuits and a possible bankruptcy.

Mr. ATL

October 26th, 2011
9:42 pm

Wish we could trade the Hawks back to St. Louis in exchange for the Blues.

ASG must go

October 26th, 2011
9:42 pm

Pizza dude doesn’t have enough dough. Hope ASG is reading these comments. In their own words. Deal with it!!!