New Orleans Hornets Scoring Big on Sponsorship Deals Despite Lockout

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Published: August 24, 2011

Since the season ended the New Orleans Hornets front office staff has been kicking butt and taking names. They haven’t made any personnel moves that will propel the team to the title whenever the next season is, and there still isn’t an owner in place, but what has happened is arguably the best NBA news to come out of New Orleans since the team proved victorious in game one against the Lakers.

As you may have heard, Entergy and Chevron have both recently raised their sponsorship level to become Crescent City Champions, which is widely recognized (although never officially confirmed) as reserved for companies which contribute 1,000,000 or more annually. The commitment from Entergy and Chevron are both an increase of more than 50 percent of their previous levels.

Additionally it’s rumored that there are several companies who could potentially decide to become top level sponsors. If any one of them decide to become Crescent City Champions, it would represent a major increase in sponsorship from last year.

Those major sponsorship gains are nothing at which to scoff, and the potential for another big one is certainly mouth watering. The best part is, they only tell less than half the story. It’s actually the smaller sponsors that appear to be making the biggest difference in driving the overall rise in sponsorship. While Entergy and Chevron have been the only names mentioned by the Hornets publicly so far, there have been a few other sponsors who have increased their contribution by six figures, and many more who have bumped their commitment up by amounts in the five figure range.

Adding it all up, the Hornets have increased their sponsorship revenue by over four million dollars from this point last year, which they are are privately touting (without certainty) as the best in the league. That’s a fantastic number considering that nine out of ten sportswriters predict that the season won’t start on time, if at all (I made that up).

The sponsorship increase tells us that local businesses are committing to supporting and keeping the Hornets in New Orleans for the long term, that Hugh Weber,  Jac Sperling and the rest of the Hornets organization are winning the fight.

A while back Sperling talked about how important it was for local businesses to show their commitment to the team. Now here we are only eight or so months later with the largest increase in corporate sponsorship in the league.

In addition, Sperling stressed the importance of full season ticket sales. As you know, the Hornets ticket sales staff has rolled out all the stops with an unprecedented “I’m in” campaign, which has led to the Hornets increasing their ticket sales by second most in the league (trailing only the Clippers). As it stands today, the Hornets have nearly 9,000 full season ticket holders despite the league being locked out indefinitely.

How people can look at information like this and still question whether or not, A. New Orleans can support an NBA team, and B. the NBA is committed to keeping the team here, is beyond me.

5 comments
JT's Hoops Blog
JT's Hoops Blog

Good to see that things are looking up for the Hornets. Unfortunately, however, it may not change the fortunes of the Hornets. they're not going to get any better than being a marginal playoff team and sooner or later sponsers will get tired of that. The Hornets cannot attract quality free agents nor can they keep the ones they currently have. David West is gone and Chris Paul will not be too far behind. that 46 win season was the best the Hornbets could possibly do. It will only go down-sill from there

Aussie Hornet
Aussie Hornet

Great to see the city really seems to be behind the team. Didn't think it was possible but my love for Dell and the front office as a whole has grown even more. The I'm In campaign, the unique season tickets deals for the lockout with interest credit etc, now this. IMO if there is any GM and front office that can get the Hornets to where we all want them to be despite these dark times, its these guys. I have no doubt they'll continue to do big things.

James Grayson
James Grayson

If you swapped the Knicks roster with the Hornets roster I can guarantee you that people would think the Hornets were still doomed while the Knicks were possessed for glory. I don't know if you remember, seeing as you likely have a short term memory, but in 2008 the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals so it's clear that there's not a magic wall standing in front of them ever being a great playoff team. The only reason you say that they can never be any better than they currently are is based on the past season. Just because the Hornets were the 7th seed doesn't mean they're going to be that again. It doesn't mean they'll be worse, it doesn't mean they'll be better. We don't know the future and what lies beyond. The Oklahoma City Thunder were the 8th seed in 2010 then they were the 4th seed in 2011. And I KNOW what you're going to say, "Oh but everyone knew they were an up and coming team." Yes that is true, but it was only because they had three youthful pieces all under rookie contracts. If the Hornets make the roster moves necessary, I see no reason why they too can't make a leap from 7th to 4th, it's not unimaginable seeing as they were actually in the 4th/5th seed for A LOT of the duration of last season. So rather than come on here, making brash assumptions and bold statements that you have NO WAY of backing up, just think, but even for a second about how your argument sounds.

42
42

Yeah, just look at the Knicks and how their sponsors got tired of losing... Oh, wait... Sponsors also care about sales, image, etc. 1) People are buying tickets during the lockout when it's impossible to win games or try to retain Chris Paul. 2) Sponsorship has increased immediately after the sales surge. I think you need to take some notes on how things work down in New Orleans. Everything you've said was applicable the past few years and variations were seen, the doomsday at the end of your posited slippery slope has not come to pass. It may. But it hasn't. How much weight do you put on empiricism, JT? Maybe your theory isn't taking into account all forces and players in the market? What do you think?

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