The new NBA season is just a few months away, and the Atlanta Hawks have new owners. The sale happened earlier this year during the playoffs, but that was not a real test for the new owners, since Bruce Levenson already left a strong team behind him. The real test begins with the start of a new season this October.
The season opens up in Detroit with the Pistons welcoming the Atlanta Hawks. The first game is always important, and this year there is even more pressure for the owners of the Hawks. They need to bring the fans back to the Philips Arena. The last few years the club had a problem with lower attendance than expected, and the club was not being looked at as a championship contender. But the 2014/2015 season was a rebirth of sorts for the Hawks, filling up the Philips Arena with attendance averaging 17,412 per game, which was actually a record for the franchise. Expectations are high, but can they be met?
Bruce Levenson, the previous owner, made a great move by selling the club to an owner that has the ability to invest and improve the position of the Hawks in the NBA. The club was sold for 850 million dollars to a group led by billionaire businessman Antony Ressler. Forbes valued the Hawks at 425 million dollars last year, but the sales of the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers changed the market. The market changed even more with the NBA landing lucrative television rights deals. Because of this, the clubs became more valuable making Bruce a very rich man earning him and his partners a few hundred million dollars. Bruce became part of the Hawks in 2004 when he formed a group called Atlanta Spirit LLC, now known as Atlanta Hawks LLC, to buy the club from Turner Broadcasting. Levenson was also the team’s managing partner and a member of the NBA Board of Governors. With varying success, his last season as the owner will be the most memorable one. The team has amazed basketball fans all over the world. They showed that by playing as one you can make outstanding results without having the biggest names of the game in your team. It is a rare occurrence that an owner leaves a team in a great state, with chances of further success in the future for the new owners.
When we know that last year the Hawks were the top seeded team in the Eastern conference with a record of 60-22, what can we expect from the team in the next NBA Season? The fans will definitely expect more, that’s just how it goes. For once, the fans want to see their favorite team fight for the title of NBA champion and they will fill the Phillips Arena, expecting just that. The new owners have a big task at hand.
It is certainly an exciting time for the club. Winning the NBA is not as a far-fetched concept as it once was. With the fans wanting more and filling the Arena like never before, the new owner will have to work hard not to disappoint.