Hawks owners want to know what you think of them (sort of)

Ed Peskowitz, Michael Gearon Jr. and Bruce Levenson look like they expect positive results from the survey.

Hawks owners Ed Peskowitz, Michael Gearon Jr. and Bruce Levenson look like they expect positive results from the survey.

(Update at 1:15 p.m.: The Hawks declined to comment on the survey.)

(Update at 9 a.m. Friday. The poll already has been shut down. Guess they got their answer.)

It seems the Atlanta Spirit’s past of running the Thrashers into the ground, selling them to a group that moved them to Winnipeg and possibly various decisions during their tenure with the Hawks have led them to wonder if that’s one reason fans aren’t going to basketball games.

Thanks to reader and former Thrashers season ticket holder Everett Duke for tipping me off to this: An Atlanta-based marketing research group, Alexander Babbage, sent out a survey via the Philips Arena account on Twitter Thursday morning, reading, “We need your help! Please take a moment to answer a few questions about the Atlanta Hawks.”

The Tweet includes this link to a survey, which is intended to gauge fans’ interest and feelings about the Hawks, the NBA and the ownership group. The survey is about 20 questions. (It goes to “No. 29,” but it’s actually mis-numbered and the last few questions seek personal information.) The survey is titled, “Hawks 2011-2012 Fan Pulse Study.”

The Hawks’ ownership group, led by my close friends (sarcasm) Michael Gearon Jr. and Bruce Levenson, has been trying to distance itself from the Atlanta Spirit brand and the Thrashers. Email addresses were changed from @AtlantaSpirit.com to @Hawks.com and news releases no longer reference Atlanta Spirit.

But there’s apparently enough concern about perceptions of the owners that the survey including the following:

Question 4: Using a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 means “Not at all interested, I never follow” and 5 means “Very interested, I always follow,” please rate your level of interest in the following. The categories that follows are: sports in general; basketball; NBA lockout news; Hawks front office news; Hawks’ performances; news about Hawks ownership; news about the sale of the Thrashers; non-sporting events at Philips.

Question 6: Using a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 means “Very negative” and 5 means “Very positive, what impact did the NBA lockout have on your opinion of the following. The categories are: NBA, Hawks overall; Hawks players; Hawks ownership.

There also are two questions gauging interest in the decision by owners to drop ticketing fees on game tickets.

Interesting that the survey avoids the direction question: “On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your opinion of Hawks’ owners?”

The Hawks declined to comment on the survey.

Here’s my view on this: There’s not a huge overlap in fan bases between the Hawks and Thrashers. But I certainly heard from several fans via email, Twitter, Facebook and in person who said the Spirit’s treatment of the Thrashers would affect their decision on whether to spend money on the Hawks or any event in Philips Arena.

Eight months later, I still hear from them.

It’s also safe to assume that even aside from the sale and move of the Thrashers, the reputations of the ownership group has been negative since shortly after their arrival, when fighting and litigation began with then-partner Steve Belkin after the Joe Johnson trade.

To what extent this survey shows that is uncertain. But I’m guessing there’s at least some ripple effect when it comes to Hawks’ attendance.

If you want to check out the survey and vote, here’s the link again: AlexanderBabbage.com/Hawks/Hawks2011pulsestudy.htm.

And as always, you’re more than welcome to vent right here.

By Jeff Schultz

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

206 comments Add your comment

Najeh Davenpoop

January 12th, 2012
11:15 am

They would probably get a more accurate response just by reading the comments to this article and the Hawks blog.

BravesFan79

January 12th, 2012
11:26 am

I think the owners have done decently well. They have spent $ to put together a quality (top 4) Eastern confrence team, and as a fan thats all you can ask a owner to do, spend $ to put together the best possible team!
Good moves recently have been: Picking up TMAC and Rodmonavitch. Being aggressive in the past and signing Jamal Crawford, who was a great pickup at the time.
I tell you what, i have more love for the Spirit than i do the Braves owners! Thanks AOL time warner for helping end a dynasty! Can we PLEASE get back in the top 10 again in baseball spending?
I still think the Braves are Atlantas best chance at another Title. But its nice to see the Falcons and Hawks up in the top also.

Barf

January 12th, 2012
11:28 am

Speedy Claxton. Need I say more?

matt

January 12th, 2012
11:29 am

Who are the Atlanta Spirt? Are they cheerleaders?

Michael

January 12th, 2012
11:30 am

I ripped them on the last question.

It’s a little odd that they would even bother to put this out there. Surely they know that it’s just giving everyone a chance to vent on them. I doubt they’ll get anything productive out of it, other than a resounding demand for them to sell and GTFOOT.

BravesFan79

January 12th, 2012
11:32 am

PS.. the move that will probably put Miami over the top this year was signing Shane Battier. His smarts, 3pt shooting, and defensive ability are a hard combination to find. Its a shame that after they eventually win a title, Queen LaBrick James will get ALL the credit! And LaBrick shouldnt even be in the discussion of best players, while Kobe scored 49 points the other night, LaBrick again scored 0 points in the 4th quarter of a loss to the Warriors.

Wayne stuck in AL

January 12th, 2012
11:40 am

The only people that approve of Atlanta Spirit are the igloo-dwellers of Winnipeg.

Mr C

January 12th, 2012
11:41 am

With all the bashing that the Hawks owners get from the media, they have actually spent money. They gave Joe Johnson max contract. The Hawks have won a playoff game in the past 5 yrs unlike the Falcons and the Braves.

Dwayne

January 12th, 2012
11:42 am

ASG.LLC…suck…Affectionally known as the Atlanta Ass Clowns……….L(liars)L(lawsuits)C(contempt)…(credit;rawhide)
But other than that…thier OK

Dwayne

January 12th, 2012
11:48 am

Stendek, where are you???
Who was the Thrasher fan who always said “I will not subsidize the incompitant owners of the Thrashers and Hawks”???

gretschdrum

January 12th, 2012
11:49 am

The ASG clowns are the worst owners in sports. David Stern still hasn’t dried his crying towel since the two different ’sales/rouses’ of the Hawks fell through. Until new ownership of the Hawks and the arena are completed they will never see a dime of my money. The shady of nature of the Thrashers’ sale and relocation should be investigated by our local journalists. There was complicity on behalf of the NHL and the local government to get them out of town (60 million, right?). The ASG are as close to a criminal entity as you can get without calling them organized crime. Or can you call them that? :) Jeff, there’s a book in there somewhere…either you or Foley need to make it happen.

Spiritless

January 12th, 2012
11:53 am

The fact that they have to wonder about their team’s fan base might think of them is indicative of how clueless they are. Don Waddell for 11 years? Please!

R. Stroz

January 12th, 2012
11:54 am

When Gearon and Levenson don’t have any ownership interest in the Hawks or the arena, I’ll go back. Until then, they can go to hell.

PMC

January 12th, 2012
11:55 am

I’d have a higher opinion if they didn’t hire a GM that wanted to remake the Detroit Pistons with all of his draft picks.

Oh if length were only an indication of good basketball players.

Sage of Bluesland

January 12th, 2012
11:57 am

That was I…and I will never put another dollar of my money into these owners’ pockets for anything. Hawks? Please. Philips Arena? Nope–don’t care who or what is showing.

I will never subsidize incompetence–and that’s what any Hawks fan does by going through the gates. The Sund/Drew combination for the Hawks is just as laughable as Don Waddell was to the Thrashers.

What a joke. I wish they would just sell and move on….or move the team. I could care less.

Not another dollar for incompetence.

Dave

January 12th, 2012
11:58 am

The thing about it is that these guys wouldn’t even be here if they could have pushed the team off on some other party with enough money to brag to his friends that he’s an “owner”. I grew up in Southern California when the Dodgers were owned by an owner that was in it for the long haul. Of course, these types are dying out but even when Ted owned the Braves, you at least had someone who was the face of the franchise. Tell me how many fans really know who these guys are or more importantly, care.

Mr. Phil

January 12th, 2012
12:02 pm

Why would you set yourself up for this? Is this some kinda gotcha? Like “oh nobody likes us here so we are moving the team to saschewan”.

Spiritless

January 12th, 2012
12:02 pm

I don’t get it. They right articles about how lousy a sports town Atlanta is but outside of you Jeff, no one seems to take this group to task. Kudos to you. I still feel there was a conspiracy between these Bozo’s and the NHL to thwart any hope of a local buyer and move the Thrashers out of Atlanta. As someone who spends plenty on sports and entertainment in this town, I will not spend a dime in Philips for the Hawks or a concert until these Bozo’s divest. On top of that, Gearon takes shots at the Falcons and is clearly envious of Arthur Blank. Would he ever hold a press conference and be as candid in his disappointment and anger with a teams performance as Blank did yesterday. Hell no. You could tell Smitty and Dimitroff would probably have rather been getting a root canal but Arthur paraded them out there in front of their critics. Something good will come of that for the Falcons. These bozo’s are absolutely incapable of doing anything right. Charles Barkley said it the best…no one enjoys watching that Hawks team.

Trojan

January 12th, 2012
12:04 pm

They are as dysfunctional as the Obama Administration.

Jimmy Crack

January 12th, 2012
12:08 pm

Let’s see…

The “potential” fans they are looking for (I am assuming the ones with $50 to blow on a nightly basketball game) don’t ride trains, don’t want to ride trains, hate traffic and definitely don’t live downtown (who does?), so the best thing for the ASG to do is move the arena to a place where you don’t have to go into that highway parking lot called downtown Atlanta traffic.

The only real way to fix ANY of the attendance problems of our sports teams is to get them OUT of downtown Atlanta.

Mr. Phil

January 12th, 2012
12:10 pm

@Jimmy Crack

The sad part is you’ve got a point. I can’t even remember how Marta works. What’s up with those cards. Don’t get it. Don’t want to.

WingsRule

January 12th, 2012
12:16 pm

worst owners in sports. “Hey, that NHL thing didn’t work out, but let’s forget about that–other than THAT we’re good owners, aren’t we?!?! PLEASE spend money to see our C+/B- NBA team.”

JoeBobFriday

January 12th, 2012
12:19 pm

The Atlanta Spirit Group is the worst ownership group in sports. I will not spend one dime on the Hawks (which is a shame, good club that should get our support but no way with these owners) and I won’t spend one dime going to any concert or event at Philips as long as Gearon, Levenson, Rutherford, et al still own this team.

And I actively make it a point to tell everyone I know, including many heavy hitters, not to even think about buying tickets to the Hawks or any event at Philips as long as they own the Hawks and the arena.

They way they treated the Thrashers is unreal and there’s no reason to think they won’t continue to treat the Hawks, the arena, and their employees the same way. Do NOT spend one dime supporting these owners, I will boycott them and continue to tell everyone I know to boycott the worst ownership group in sports, ad infinitum

ChopChamps95

January 12th, 2012
12:19 pm

@gretschdrum

I wouldn’t call the ASC organized crime lords, they are way to stupid and incompetent to even know the definition of the word. And the whole Thrashers relocation thing was a classic example of Gary Bettman being Gary Bettman……gives emphatic lip service then turns his back on the fans when money for him is involved. Just the cost of doing business to him.

Thrasher_Ed

January 12th, 2012
12:21 pm

They SUCK!!! There is no possible why for this bungling group of @ss Clowns to redeem the damage they have done to the Atlanta Sports Market. The way they totally shoe stringed both the Thrashers and Hawks, but surely the Thrashers is just deplorable. The NHL can and has succeeded in Atlanta and for them to destroy any chance of this town ever getting a Hockey team again SUCKS!!!
JERKS!!!

Matt

January 12th, 2012
12:22 pm

My response to the last question: “I am an Atlantan and a Hawks fan, but I won’t buy a hat or a ticket so long as ASG owns them, because of the Thrashers debacle.” Figured I might as well be honest. I’m not even made anymore (or at least not today), but I am resolute.

Kiss my Thrash

January 12th, 2012
12:24 pm

Never ever will I support this bunch of idiots who have not only killed the Thrashers but have killed hockey in Georgia. I will NEVER set foot in Phillips again. They are slimballs…for those Hawks fans, your time will come too when you grieve for the loss of your team. Sorry but it will….

fes

January 12th, 2012
12:27 pm

They can die in a fire for all I care. After screwing the city out of hockey, they won’t be getting my money ever again. Screw them and Bettman.

cpsman_atlanta

January 12th, 2012
12:28 pm

Put it to you this way – My family is not spending one dime at Philips Arena until all members of the Atlanta Spirit Group are gone. They can rebrand themselves if they wish, but THEY are the problem. Bettman knows that the NHL can succeed here, but letting them move wasn’t a issue with the team succeeding here; it was an issue with the ownership. He’s willing to allow 5-10 years for the ownership to be gone before even considering bringing a team back.

Bill

January 12th, 2012
12:29 pm

I live in Savannah but make trips to the Atlanta area all the time.Used to try to catch the Hawks and Thrashers at home.No more.

Major Hops

January 12th, 2012
12:30 pm

The Hawks ownership has no desire to spend money wisely. Evident by signing Joe Johnson to that obscene contract. Coaching is vital and by signing Larry Drew is another indication of not wanting to spend money. Don’t get me wrong I think there are a lot of coaches that deserve a chance, Larry Drew is not the right fit for the Hawks. Heck go hire loud mouth Charles Barkley he seems to have all the answers! And 80 to 90 percent of time he is right.

John

January 12th, 2012
12:30 pm

I’ll just go ahead and edit it for you now: %$#$^&^$#@@#$$%^&*&*^%$#@#$%^%&*&*&!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will not give a single dime to those sorry pieces of horse manure.

Smoothie

January 12th, 2012
12:33 pm

Let’s see, ditto the following people’s comments:

Dwayne, gretschdrum, R. Stroz, Sage, JoeBobFriday, Thrasher_Ed, Matt and the aptly named “Kiss my Thrash”

Gearon, Levenson et all, you can kiss it. That is all.

JustAThought

January 12th, 2012
12:33 pm

How about this number.00000000000000000000000001…………….well you get the point (f#ck them all)!

Sargent Carter

January 12th, 2012
12:41 pm

The Hawks owners are a bunch of stinking millionaire brats from Buckhead who use daddy’s money for their amusement. They have no feel for the average fan and the fans have no feel for you. Sell the Hawks and go back to your cocktail parties on West Paces Ferry where your wives and mistresses should be featured on Cheaters. At least Mark Cuban has heart…

steve brown

January 12th, 2012
12:42 pm

You can not avoid the fact that they have damaged the reputation of the city and broken the hearts of many fans. Only one thing that I can think of could turn their image around and that is the Hawks in the finals ( note that I didn’t say championship). If they are as smart as they think they are they should find a buyer for the Hawks and get out of the entertainment business as they are anything but entertaining (my favorite example of this is a GM who doesn’t ever talk).

Sargent Carter

January 12th, 2012
12:44 pm

They are not well-received, these bratty buckhead brat owners

DawgDad

January 12th, 2012
12:44 pm

“. . . have led them to wonder if that’s one reason fans aren’t going to basketball games.”

They needed to run POLLS to figure this out? My house cat is far more astute than this bunch.

I wish no ill-will to the Hawks and people in their organization, but I won’t be contributing to the interests or benefit of their ownership. Actually, the Hawks and NBA lost me as a fan decades ago, when they moved from my hometown in St. Louis to Atlanta. Haven’t followed either since, and haven’t missed it.

Adam

January 12th, 2012
12:44 pm

I was a Day One Thrashers STH and paid good money after bad, hoping that my little part would somehow keep the team here long enough for those clowns to sell to a new owner who cared. Well, they found a new owner who cared, so I guess I should have clarified that I wanted the new owner to also be local. F the ASG with every atomic particle in the entire universe. You will not get a red cent from me ever again, even when Springsteen comes this summer. That one will hurt, but I am making my stand on principle.

Snoman

January 12th, 2012
12:45 pm

I agree with the majority of these posts. These clowns will not see any of my money either. Sell the arena and the team you losers!! I hope they rot in H-E-Double HOCKEY Sticks for what they did to the loyal fans of the Thrashers and hockey fans in general!!

tonyb

January 12th, 2012
12:45 pm

Well Atlanta Spirit, or whatever your calling yourselves these days, I think after reading these comments, you have your answer.

Jimmy Crack

January 12th, 2012
12:46 pm

I must agree with eveyone here. Losing NHL hockey FOREVER (unless the NHL change their policy but they won’t with so many cities on the waiting list) is probably the worst sports business decision in the history of the state of Georgia, yet the ASG doesn’t seem to be getting enough public blame. I know this is the South and it is hockey, but a professional sports franchise death penalty is incredible and should be eternally shaming.

JoeBobFriday

January 12th, 2012
12:47 pm

on the flip side, these crappy owners have forced me to find out that Gwinnett Arena and Verizon in Alpharetta are both great arenas to see a show. Never again will I step foot in Philips until they are gone (and I probably spent $100k in that place on tickets to games, concerts, etc.), never again!

lilibeter

January 12th, 2012
12:48 pm

Thank you for posting the link to the survey. Although it certainly does not remove the bitter taste from my mouth or the resounding bitterness from my heart, I sincerely appreciated being able to express my unmitigated disgust with the ASG over their treatment of the Thrashers as being the single and primary reason that my support and my money will never again grace the Hawks, Phillips Arena, ASG, or any affiliate thereof.

Sargent Carter

January 12th, 2012
12:48 pm

In short, ASG, we hate you….is there a word STRONGER than ahte?

Sargent Carter

January 12th, 2012
12:48 pm

Rawhide

January 12th, 2012
12:50 pm

The great Octocluster known as the AS, LLC suck….they suck all the way to Winnipeg.

Next question?

tmc

January 12th, 2012
12:50 pm

Love ‘em!
(and if by “love” you mean, absolutely despise them and think they are the worst owners in all of sports…)
then yeah, I LOVE ‘EM!
Sell the team yesterday…

Charles

January 12th, 2012
12:54 pm

What do we think of the CLAMPETS, was that the question?

Sargent Carter

January 12th, 2012
1:00 pm

what would it take to gain us back…how bout dollar ticket night on games where you knew it would not sell out?…how ’bout kid’s free night with some games?…something to show that you cared about something other than your guccis?