New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Tom Benson is officially the new owner of
the New Orleans Hornets.
The $338 million sale was finalized Friday, just two days after the NBA Board
of Governors approved the deal.
In conjunction with the finalization of the ownership transaction, the
Hornets' lease extension with the State has been approved by Governor Bobby
Jindal and the Louisiana legislature. The extension will keep the Hornets in
New Orleans long term, as well as provide funding for upgrades to the New
Orleans Arena. The agreement also included the elimination of all exit
options, attendance benchmarks, and financial inducements.
"I'm thrilled to have become the owner of the Hornets," said Benson, who also
owns the NFL's Saints. "There is a lot of excitement in the region about the
franchise, especially after winning the #1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. We
have been successful with the Saints and I know we can translate that success
to our NBA team as well.
"We have the best, most dedicated fans in the world and will need them along
the way as we work as an organization to make them proud. Championship
performance is tied to fan support and the passion of the New Orleans sports
fan is second to none. We look forward to joining up with all of our valued
current fans and also introducing this great team game to many more residents
of our city and region."
Under NFL rules, Benson is allowed to own both teams because they are in the
When NBA commissioner David Stern announced the sale in April, he called
Benson "a firm believer in investing in New Orleans" and said it was the
league's goal all along to sell the team to such a person.
The NBA purchased the Hornets for a reported $318 million from George Shinn in
The Hornets won the NBA Draft Lottery last month to land the No. 1 pick, which
is likely to be used on star Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis.
The Saints, of course, have dominated recent headlines in the city because of
their bounty program.
The Sports Network