Ownership Update: One Day Left of Legislative Session

Published: June 4, 2012

There is one day left for the Legislature to do one Hornetsy thing.

With just one day left in the current legislative session and four weeks left until the lease amendment pre-conditions must be met so it can go into effect, time is growing short to resolve the issues that were outstanding in our last ownership update. While there is no reason to expect that this will not all work out, it’s best to keep an eye on anything that can have dire consequences if things go amiss.

The session will run from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CDT (UTC -5 for our international readers . . . we’ll do a guttentag today for those in Deutschland).


Update: Passed both Houses.

This bill passed the House by a wide margin and with only minor amendments, none directly affecting our concerns here at Hornets247. The Senate passed it with amendments, but the House has rejected these amendments. This bill will go a conference committee, which is a sort of cage match where members of both chambers bang out a unified bill. For a bill of this scope and size (most of it has nothing to do with the Hornets, Arena, or the LSED generally), this is standard.

In case you are wondering, none of the amendments pertain to any LSED items except for typographical issues and an increase of money for Zephyr Field. Therefore, there is no reason at the moment that anyone is doing anything but adding stuff to the LSED’s pot rather than taking it away; rather, the fighting is all about other stuff.

After passage, it will have to go to the Governor to be signed. Again, the magnitude (pop! pop!) of this bill should not be subject to much politicking, not that there is much time left for this.

This is annoying, but it should pass. It is possible that some issue that has nothing to do with Hornets will hold things up, and an ideological stand or the like could do collateral damage to the Hornets sale and lease. Should this happen, and it’s not likely, I think and hope the NBA would see the situation in this light and accommodate an adjusted time table.

Besides this, this bill calls for more spending in the category that the Arena renovations than is allowed by law. Therefore, funding this bad boy will be an issue. The Governor has the approval power in practice, but a board does have the formal approval. Since the Governor is has a history of supporting these endeavors quite publically, I would expect funding to not be an issue, but, again, it’s something to watch.


This tax rebate bill has been signed by the Governor and is now Act 219. It is done.


The lease amendment can not be signed until Benson is the owner and the Legislative matters above are completed. The NBA is not going to sign a lease to keep the team here through 2024, so Benson has to be the owner for this to get done. Similarly, the revenue generating potential of the Arena needs to be defined before the lease is signed, otherwise the terms can not be set. The announcement of the lease before was predicated upon the above happening.


The sale has not been formalized, but references to an NBA Board of Governors meeting in June have been creeping up in reports. Also, the Times-Picayune reported that the Board could approve the sale in a conference call shortly after the bill is approved. Benson’s appearance at the Draft Lottery shows implicit support for his ownership, and he’s the kind of owner they want: experienced, politically connected, in possession a diverse portfolio worth over a billion dollars.


Other than the clock ticking on HB2 and the funding issues detailed above, none that have not been stated above or in earlier posts, and these are unlikely to manifest.

Our Edge

The hospitality zone seems to have stalled, but the discussion of such things is important. The continual attention and upgrades to this area of our commerce is just as important as the realization of these upgrades.

Along these lines, The Major Event Funding Study Committee has been established to determine is a trust fund should be established to be used to attract major events to Louisiana. The Hornets, Saints, and LSED have representatives on the 20 person committee that will present a report to the Senate by the first of the year. New Orleans attracts the highest profile of events with regularity, but, as noted, this is about continual growth. Events are constantly trying to be poached by other areas, so New Orleans has to run to keep up its lead. We are not competing with someone; we are competing with everyone . . . and mother nature.

Think of the events, besides NBA Conference Finals or NBA Finals that have not been here. Put them in the comments.

We’ll keep you posted here on the HB2 and ownership developments.


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