Saints and Hornets: Recent Developments
I'm just getting back from vacation, and I'm just now digesting the latest information with the two teams. The first development comes to us from Saintsdoggle. Our fellow blogger expresses some concern over the recent T-P story about NFL aid to the Superdome. His concern is over a paragraph "buried" in the story which states that the Saints' penalty to break the Superdome lease has been reduced by $20 million.
Is this cause for concern? My knee-jerk answer is "no," with some caution and reservations. I mean, you know that there were going to be strings attached to any NFL assistance. That's the way the world and big business works. I'm still not convinced that the NFL wants to move to Los Angeles immediately. Saints fans have stepped up to the plate and bought the tickets. The new "braintrust" (led by Rita Benson LeBlanc) have responded to the NFL's requests to "regionalize" the team. I really don't think they would do all of that and then pack up one year later. I know that the Reggie Bush/Los Angeles connection has some people on edge right now; I wrote about the "conspiracy theory" shortly after the draft. But let's just wait and see what happens. I really believe that we have 2 or 3 years to prove ourselves before the NFL deems the city a lost cause. Right now we need somebody within the city and region to step up and get the business support needed to create an infrastructure worthy of a professional football team. That's what's going to determine whether the Saints stay. Ask the Democratic National Committee (allegedly). And that's something that's beyond the control of die-hard Saints fans like us.
I was right about fans swallowing their pride and forgiving Benson. I hope I'm right about this one.
Now for the NEW ORLEANS/oklahoma city* Hornets. There are positive developments on this front. For those of you who don't follow closely, two seemingly unrelated developments bode well for the future of this team. First, the "parasites" in Oklahoma City have now apparently set their sights on the Seattle Sonics (no matter what the new owners say). Second, local minority ownership has apparently been identified, and negotiations are underway. So there may be hope to keep the Hornets here after all.
But you'll forgive me if I'm a little more pessimistic on this one. I'm still holding the opinion that the city will have trouble supporting both teams in the post-KTMB economy. It's a business thing--not a fan thing. And even if the Sonics move to Oklahoma instead of the Hornets, there are still plenty of cities that could make a run for the team. I live in Missouri right now, and I can tell you that Kansas City wants a team--basketball, hockey or anything. The city has a brand new arena and no tenant beyond its Arena Football team. Louisville has made NBA runs in the past, and could do so again in the future. And I'm sure there are others too. But all in all, keeping the Hornets would be a decent consolation prize if the Saints left. Keeping both would be ideal.
I will get to comments and opinions about on-the-field activity soon. It's almost time for Saints training camp updates. And the Hornets are the busiest team in basketball right now. More to come...
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