SBD/January 12, 2012/Franchises

Hornets' Sperling Making Progress On Securing New Owner, Long-Term Lease

Hornets being sold on condition of long-term lease with New Orleans Arena and state
The Hornets' search for a team owner “continues on a somewhat smooth path with the possible announcement of a new caretaker, as well as a long-term lease extension, coming within the next few months," according to Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Hornets Chair Jac Sperling said that he “foresees no difficulties reaching that goal.” Sperling: “I think we’re making excellent progress in connection with the sale of the team. One thing I want to note is that the team is being sold on the condition that there’s a long-term lease here with the New Orleans Arena and the state. That’s being made clear to all the potential purchasers.” Sperling said, “We have had excellent interest from a number of different potential purchasers." He added, "I don’t want to get into the number, just to say that there’s significant interest from a good number of groups.” Sperling also has been “engaged with the Superdome Commission in negotiating a 10-year lease extension -- with no escape clauses -- that would bind the Hornets to New Orleans Arena for the next 12 to 13 years.” Sperling has been in New Orleans “full time recently after splitting time between here and his home in Minnesota.” He plans on remaining in New Orleans "until the deal is consummated" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 1/12).
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