NBA: New Orleans Hornets officially renamed Pelicans, Charlotte, Seattle and Sacramento + NBA attendance 2013 current status

January 23, 2013


NBA: New Orleans Hornets officially renamed Pelicans with new logo and colors

New Orleans Pelicans logo

WDSU 6 NBC New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS- New Orleans’ NBA franchise is changing its wings. The team announced the Hornets will be renamed the Pelicans.

The name change will go into effect for the 2013-2014 NBA season.

Upon purchasing the Hornets for $340 million last spring, Tom Benson, who also owns the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, announced he wanted to change the team name to “something more New Orleans.”

The Pelicans were a minor league baseball franchise in New Orleans from 1887 to 1959 and again in 1997.

The brown pelican is the Louisiana state bird.

The Hornets began as an NBA franchise in Charlotte, N.C., in 1988, before relocating to New Orleans in 2002.

Former team owner George Shinn was urged to change the name when the Hornets relocated from North Carolina, but Shinn declined.

The Pelicans new colors will be navy blue, red and gold.

In an interview last year, Benson’s wife, Gayle Benson, said the family wanted to use black as one of the Pelican’s colors. However, the NBA told them the league has too many teams using black as a primary color.

Video: Tom Benson owner of New Orleans Pelicans- press conference

Video: General Manager gives thoughts on new team name

Video: Explanation of selecting Pelicans as franchise name


Video:Why team is now named New Orleans Pelicans


Charlotte Bobcats in contact with NBA

WBTV 3 CBS Charlotte

CHARLOTTE- On Thursday evening, Bobcats Sports & Entertainment President & COO Fred Whitfield released a statement today after the announcement was made. “We are aware of the impending change regarding the team nickname in New Orleans,” Whitfield said. “We are currently in contact with the NBA and conducting our own due diligence relative to this matter. We will not have any further comment until we have completed this process.”

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, a native of the Queen City wants the Hornets name back. “I’m not promising that it’s going to help win games. They have to do something on the court,” Foxx said.

New Orleans Hornets

Charlotte Bobcats
Video: We BEElieve!
Yellow Arrow Film, Inc.
A documentary film on the grassroots fan movement to bring the buzz back to Charlotte.


Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx types on Twitter “Hornets” January 24, 2013

Charlotte Mayor Foxx Tweets -Hornets for Charlotte's NBA's franchise renaming

Charlotte Bobcats commission polls on possible nickname change to “Hornets”

By Rick Bonnell
The Charlotte Observer

With the New Orleans Hornets announcing Thursday afternoon they’ll change their nickname to the Pelicans, the Charlotte Bobcats face this question: Would adopting “Hornets,’’ the nickname first associated with NBA basketball in Charlotte, drive up sales of game tickets and team merchandise?

The Bobcats are already engaged in market research to find out. They’ve hired Harris Interactive, a nationally prominent polling company, to survey both current Bobcats customers and the general Charlotte sports market about a possible change.

The Observer obtained a copy of the survey Harris emailed to various Bobcats season-ticket holders Wednesday. The electronic survey takes about 30 minutes to fill out, and asks all sorts of questions about the Bobcats, the Hornets and the general perception of what would sell more game tickets and team gear.

One question, about halfway through Harris’ survey, is the crux of the issue:

“If the Bobcats were to change their nickname to the ‘Hornets,’ would you attend more games than you currently do, attend fewer games, or attend about the same amount?’

The Bobcats aren’t commenting on the situation in New Orleans, since the name change won’t become official until a Thursday afternoon news conference. However, an NBA source confirmed to the Observer Tuesday night that Hornets owner Tom Benson has been given permission to switch the nickname to the Pelicans, an iconic bird in the state of Louisiana.

A grassroots effort called “Bring Back the Buzz’’ has lobbied for a name change from Bobcats to Hornets for over a year. Several hundred members of that group attended Saturday’s home loss to the Sacramento Kings. Sitting mostly in the upper deck, they wore Hornets teal-and-purple merchandise and occasionally chanted “Charlotte Hornets’’ during the game.

That group was heartened when Benson, who also owns the NFL New Orleans Saints, said he wanted a nickname more associated with Louisiana. The Hornets name is seemingly now available. NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said in April that if the Bobcats want the Hornets name, “it’s something we would clearly look at.’’ Silver added that a switch would be relatively simple since the league already owns all the trademarks.

Bobcats president Fred Whitfield told the Observer last month that a name change would cost the team at least $3 million to implement. Whitfield added that the team’s current stakeholders – season-ticket holders, sponsors and suite-holders – would have a big voice in any decision. “Some of them have invested in us for nine years as Bobcats fans,’’ Whitfield said.

The issue isn’t just whether “Bobcats’’ or “Hornets’’ is more appealing to the Charlotte public. It’s whether a name change would actually drive sales of tickets, merchandise and general interest in this team. Or as one item on the Bobcats’ survey posed, “When you think of the team nickname ‘Hornets,’ what comes to mind?’’ That is the $3 million question.


  • The Charlotte Bobcats currently are taking a survey of season ticket holders regarding their team name and team colors.
  • Charlotte Bobcats set a franchise record with 15th straight home loss on Monday against Houston Rockets.
  • Charlotte lost 100-94 at home to the Houston Rockets on Monday, January 21, 2013 . Charlotte takes on the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday, January 23, 2013 in Charlotte
  • New Orleans Hornets beat the Sacramento Kings 114-105 on Monday, January 21, 2013. New Orleans takes on the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday 23, 2013 in San Antonio.


NBA current record as of end of day Tuesday, January 22, 2013

NBA Record


NBA attendance as of January 22, 2013

The Hornets’ former owner relocated the team from Charlotte to New Orleans following the 2001–2002 season. The Charlotte Bobcats were established in 2004 as an expansion team.

Charlotte currently leads New Orleans in home attendance.

In 2012 Atlanta had a home attendance of 501,593 (rank 23), New Orleans 498,618 (rank 24), Charlotte 486,984 (rank 25).

The Atlanta Hawks, with a current record of 23-18, are doing poorly in attendance with 310,915 (ranking 24),  Charlotte Bobcats has an attendance currently of 341,011 (ranking 23) with a record of 10-31 and New Orleans has an attendance currently of 283,443 (ranking 29) with a record of 14-27.

2013   Attendance Home
1 Chicago Bulls 23 500,289 21,751
2 Dallas Mavericks 19 379,370 19,966
3 Miami Heat 19 378,307 19,910
4 Portland Trail Blazers 21 413,818 19,705
5 Los Angeles Clippers 24 460,686 19,195
6 (Oakland) Warriors 19 363,208 19,116
7 New York Knicks 20 380,660 19,033
8 Los Angeles Lakers 22 417,934 18,997
9 (Salt Lake City) Utah Jazz 17 321,582 18,916
10 Boston Celtics 21 391,104 18,624
11 San Antonio Spurs 20 368,407 18,420
12 Oklahoma City Thunder 22 400,466 18,203
13 Toronto Raptors 20 362,062 18,103
14 Orlando Magic 22 390,835 17,765
15 Denver Nuggets 19 326,968 17,208
16 (Minneapolis) Minnesota Timberwolves 17 290,536 17,090
17 (New York) Brooklyn Nets 23 391,659 17,028
18 Memphis Grizzlies 21 346,780 16,513
19 Cleveland Cavaliers 17 277,403 16,317
20 Houston Rockets 21 340,290 16,204
21 Philadelphia 76ers 21 339,911 16,186
22 Washington Wizards 19 295,010 15,526
23 Charlotte Bobcats 22 341,011 15,500
24 Atlanta Hawks 21 310,915 14,805
25 Phoenix Suns 21 310,155 14,769
26 (Indianapolis) Indiana Pacers 19 274,592 14,452
27 Milwaukee Bucks 20 281,289 14,064
28 Detroit Pistons 23 318,684 13,855
29 New Orleans Hornets 21 283,443 13,497
30 Sacramento Kings 22 289,375 13,153


NBA Update

Burkle, Mastrov said to be willing to buy Kings, keep them in Sacramento

By Ryan Lillis, Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak
Sacramento Bee

Billionaire Ron Burkle and Bay Area investor Mark Mastrov are in serious discussions to team up on a bid to buy the Sacramento Kings and partner with the city of Sacramento on a plan to help finance a new downtown sports arena, The Bee has learned.

A source familiar with the negotiations told The Bee late Tuesday that Burkle and Mastrov are both committed to keeping the team in Sacramento and building the Kings into a contender. The teaming of Burkle and Mastrov is seen by city officials as a “dream team” counteroffer to the group that this week reached a deal with the Maloof family to buy the Kings and move the franchise to Seattle, the source said.

Burkle, who co-owns the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, recently has been mentioned by both Mayor Kevin Johnson and NBA Commissioner David Stern as a potential suitor for the Kings. Mastrov, the founder of the 24 Hour Fitness chain, made an unsuccessful bid to buy the Golden State Warriors in 2010 and until now had been the only person to publicly express interest in buying the Kings and keeping them here.

The news that Burkle was back in the hunt for the Kings, which he also offered to buy two years ago, capped an earlier announcement by Johnson on Tuesday that 20 prominent Sacramentans had agreed to invest $1 million apiece for a minority stake in the team.

Those local investors would partner with deep-pocketed financiers – such as Burkle and Mastrov – in making a counteroffer to the deal reached this week by an investor group seeking to move the Kings to Seattle. In an afternoon news conference, Johnson said ultrawealthy people with ties to California had expressed interest in buying the Kings, and that he hoped to unveil at least one as early as this week.

The purchase offer would be combined with a concrete plan to finance a new downtown sports arena when Johnson makes his pitch to reject the Seattle deal directly to the NBA’s board of governors. Johnson will also argue that Sacramento is a more supportive NBA market than Seattle was when it was home to the SuperSonics.

Despite national media reports saying the NBA is inclined to approve the sale and relocation of the Kings, the mayor said he thinks Sacramento has a fighting chance.

“Come April or before, we’re going to submit a fair and competitive offer,” the mayor said, referring to the annual board of governors meeting held at the conclusion of the NBA’s regular season.

The Maloof family, which has controlled the Kings since 1999, reached a binding agreement on Sunday to sell the team to a group led by Seattle hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer. If the sale is approved by the NBA, Hansen would move the Kings to Seattle before the start of the 2013-14 season and rename them the SuperSonics, after the franchise that left Seattle for Oklahoma City in 2008.

Johnson acknowledged he was playing catch-up to the Seattle group, which sources said has agreed to buy the 65 percent of the Kings owned by the Maloofs and their Oklahoma business partner, Bob Hernreich. The agreement values the Kings franchise at $525 million, meaning the Seattle group is willing to pay $341 million for the Maloof and Hernreich shares.

Burkle and Mastrov would give Sacramento an immediate boost. Forbes pegs Burkle’s net worth at $3.1 billion, and Mastrov offered a reported $350 million in an unsuccessful bid to buy the Warriors in 2010.

A business associate of Burkle’s could not be reached for comment. Mastrov also could not be reached.

“(The city has) legitimate individuals who are going to be treated very seriously by the league,” said sports business consultant Andy Dolich, a former executive with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. “That is a good piece of news for Sacramento.”

Sacramento developer Larry Kelley, who is one of the 20 local investors introduced earlier in the day by the mayor, reacted enthusiastically when told about the possible Burkle-Mastrov partnership.

“Sounds to me like it’s a great marriage,” said Kelley, who was a Kings limited partner in the 1990s. “They have money, they certainly have high integrity and a reputation for being very good businessmen.”

Johnson’s wealthy investors would be expected to cover the majority of the $341 million offered by the Hansen group. While the contribution of the local partners would make up a smaller share, Johnson said they would serve as a direct link between the Kings franchise and the community.

“These are folks who realize that the Kings are a civic asset for our community,” he said.

Johnson said he began recruiting local investment partners on Thursday and that his initial goal was to secure between three and five willing to commit to $1 million each.

The list of locals includes downtown developer David Taylor, who had signed on to develop an arena in the railyard before a financing plan for that facility collapsed last year. Taylor has said he is also interested in reviving his role in an arena project.

“I wish the Maloofs good luck in the future,” said Taylor, who has dealt with the family on several arena efforts. “While they have been a difficult partner in some instances, they’ve been a good partner in others. I wish them well, but I wish they’d sell to us, and I think they will.”

Said another potential local investor, developer Phil Oates: “I’m doing this for one reason: It’s time to fight.”

Despite the seemingly long odds, Johnson said he was confident that his message would resonate with the NBA. At Stern’s urging, arena operator AEG declared last week it’s still committed to working on an arena project in Sacramento if the team stays.

“It is unprecedented for a team to relocate from a city that has done everything this community has done for 28 years,” he said, referring to long sellout streaks for Kings games and a commitment by the City Council last year to contribute $255 million toward a new downtown arena. “We have been good partners.”

Johnson also cautioned Seattle fans not to celebrate yet.

“We as a community, we’ve had the emotional roller coaster (of trying to keep the Kings); it’s hard,” the mayor said. “I would hate for them to be misled.”


Latest Seattle Sodo arena plan is an eco-friendly design
The design for the proposed Sodo basketball arena was again debated Tuesday evening, with much of the discussion focused on closing nearby streets during events.

Seattle Arena design

By Lynn Thompson
Seattle Times staff reporter

The latest designs for the proposed Sodo arena show shimmering walls of water along the west facade and on the stepped plaza to the main entryway. The architects for investor Chris Hansen on Tuesday also outlined ideas to make the facility environmentally sustainable, from capturing and reusing rainwater to solar heating and generating energy for the surrounding neighborhood.

The plans were presented to the Seattle Downtown Design Review Board, in the third meeting with Hansen’s architectural team, to give feedback about how the arena will function in an urban/industrial neighborhood and affect visitors and the surrounding streets. Hansen is proposing a $490 million basketball and hockey arena in Sodo, including $200 million in public money that would be repaid through revenue generated by the arena. On Monday, Hansen announced he had reached a deal to purchase the Sacramento Kings, pending NBA approval. Two lawsuits are challenging the financing and the location. The Seattle Mariners on Tuesday again questioned whether South Massachusetts Street, at the north end of the arena site, and Occidental Avenue South, which approaches the site from the north, could realistically be closed during arena events. Hansen’s design team has said it would like to close those streets on game days to create a pedestrian concourse.

Melody McCutcheon, an attorney for the Mariners, said the streets allow access for emergency vehicles and the disabled, and for traffic in and out of the Mariners parking garage. “The arena poses challenges,” she said. “There are competing needs for the streets.” She did say that representatives of Hansen’s had preliminary conversations with Mariners management to address the street-use issues as well as whether the Mariners parking garage could be shared with the new arena.

Design Review Board members said the grand-entry stairway rising from Massachusetts Street might have to be reoriented if the street can’t be closed to traffic on game days. “It’s a city street. I find it very hard to imagine it being a festival street and a lot of the time being closed,” said Brian Scott, a developer on the Design Review Board. Hansen’s team plans to submit its Master Use Permit application to the city in April, said attorney Jack McCullough.

Tuesday’s meeting was planned as the last early-design guidance session, but because of the outstanding issues, another meeting likely will be scheduled in February.


Related NBA New Orleans and Charlotte news topics

NBA: Rebranding name and colors for the New Orleans Hornets to the Pelicans and the Charlotte Bobcats to Hornets?

Tom Benson’s purchase of New Orleans Hornets officially approved by NBA

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson buys New Orleans Hornets from NBA for $338 million. Sacramento’s new NBA arena deal crumbles. Will Charlotte get the Hornets name back? Will Seattle or Kansas City land a NBA franchise?

NBA: Is Michael Jordan rebranding his Charlotte Bobcats to Cats instead of Hornets?

NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats changing colors? Team says any change would be irrelevant to nickname

Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats made NBA history with a 7-59 record making them the worst team in the league’s history

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