SBD/Issue 181/Franchises

Paul Saving Hoops In New Orleans Through Work On- And Off-Court

Strong Record, Paul's Performance In '07-08
Boosted Average Attendance 20% This Season
Hornets G Chris Paul, "besides lifting his team on his shoulders," has done "more than anyone to save pro basketball in New Orleans," according to Monte Burke of FORBES. The Hornets have made the playoffs each of the last two seasons, and the team finished the '07-08 regular season with a franchise-best 56-26 record. The club this season also saw a "boost in season-ticket holders (11,000, from 6,000 last year) and sponsors." The increases have translated into bigger revenues, as the Hornets for the '07-08 season posted $95M in revenues, up 5% from the previous season, as well as a "rise in the Forbes estimate of the team's value," up 5% to $285M. The increase in fan interest "kept the Hornets in New Orleans, voiding a clause in the team's lease" for New Orleans Arena that would have allowed the team to move. The "improved record and Paul's runner-up finish in the MVP voting" in '07-08 "helped push up average attendance this past season by 20%." Hornets Owner George Shinn: "Could we have accomplished this without Chris? Probably not." Meanwhile, Paul has "helped the Crescent City off the court, too, largely through his CP3 Foundation." Paul "swiftly went to work in his adopted home." He "fed 200 needy families on Thanksgiving Day," and at Christmas, Paul "took 100 kids on a toy-shopping spree." He also has "built basketball courts downtown and partnered with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild houses." Paul: "People ask me if I feel obligated to give back, especially given what New Orleans went through. I tell them you should never feel obligated to do it; you should want to do it." Burke notes Paul earns $4M annually in endorsements from Jordan Brand, Right Guard and others, which supplements his $4.6M annual salary (FORBES, 6/22 issue).

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