NEW ORLEANS, LA (NBC33) — The New Orleans Hornets have new ownership . This after New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson announced he bought the Hornets franchise on Friday. Benson will reportedly pay $338-million for the team.
The NBA took over ownership of the team in 2010 after former owner George Shinn left the team. Since then the Hornets have lost several star players including point guard Chris Paul.
Many fans hope Benson will be able to turn things around for the Hornets just like he did the Saints.
She has more on the deal, and what you say it could mean for Louisiana.
It's past the half way mark of the NBA season and the New Orleans Hornets are struggling with a 16-42 record they are the worst in the Western Conference.
"New Orleans is a small market team if you don't put a winning team on the court people aren't just going to show up,” Mike Frith, Hornets fan, said. “They've got to win games that's all there is to it."
But with the announcement came a ray of hope. Fans say Benson may be just what the Hornets need to turn things around.
"If Benson takes the attitude that he'd took with the Saints and makes the right investments and the right things he could turn things around make the hornets a competitive team," Frith continued.
Last month, the team and the state of Louisiana reached a lease agreement that will keep the Hornets in their arena till 2024; that's twelve more seasons. Plus, the state would have to do millions of dollars in improvements to the basketball stadium. According to ESPN in order for anyone to buy the Hornets they had to accept the new lease not a problem for "King of New Orleans sports".
“Tom Benson's been through the ups and down of the city,” Blake Breaux, Hornets fans, said. “He's super loyal to the city and he'll bring that loyalty into the Hornets and hopefully we'll have a long term basketball team in the city."
Fans say having stable owner ship will help attract better players to the team.
"We need more experience we don't have many experienced players we lost experience when we lost Chris Paul,” Sam Pitre, Hornets fan, said.
According to ESPN, before the deal can be finalized the Louisiana State Legislature will have to approve the funding for stadium improvements required in the Hornets lease.