New Orleans Hornets Scoring Big on Sponsorship Deals Despite Lockout

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.


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