1 October 2005
That "temporary" arrangement
Don Mecoy of the Oklahoman interviews Hornets owner George Shinn in tomorrow's edition, and, well, judge for yourself:
Q: Do you think there's a chance that your team may never go back to New Orleans?
A: I can't go there. You understand? I just can't go there. We'll just have a wait-and-see attitude because legally, technically, we are a New Orleans team and the NBA has to vote on any moving. They had to vote on us coming here and approve it. They wouldn't have approved us to just tell them to stick it in their ear, we're going to move on. You can't do that.
My feeling is that if we do what I think we're going to do and we sell out all these games, and New Orleans completely recovers and all the people go back, the economy starts going up and everything looks great, then we'll probably have to go back. We won't have a choice.
I may be wrong, but it sounds to me like already Shinn wants to stay.
(Update: The Oklahoman has now posted the interview.)
Posted at 7:48 PM to Net Proceeds
Shinn may want to stay longer than this season, but it's an open question whether or not OKC will support the Hornets. Granted, the Hornets were last in attendance last year, and I have to think that the 36 games in OKC this year will outdraw that (novelty factor and all).
Pro-sports leagues like the NBA nearly require a fair amount of local corporate support (buying tickets in bulk, luxury boxes, etc). Other than Sonic and Kerr-McGee, what corporations in OKC have their home offices there?
Well, there's Devon and Chesapeake, both of whom are Fortune 500 companies, and both of whom are definitely involved with the Hornets. (OPUBCO and OG&E are also bigger than you thought.)
I don't think Shinn is exactly smitten with the place remember, he bailed on Charlotte after a decade but that first major-league franchise is always the hardest.
I wonder what Shinn would do if another city offered him next year the same deal OKC gave him: a guaranteed additional 5% over his previous year's income.
Probably nothing next year, but '07-'08? Watch out.
I was surprised that Shinn actually said as much as he did, but he likes to talk. A hovering PR guy interupted Shinn after he repeated the talking points in the first paragraph you've reprinted here (he essentially repeated exactly what he'd said at the press conference the day they announced the Hornets were coming to Okc).
But after the PR guy got done telling me what Mr. Shinn wanted to say, Shinn got wound up again and did a little more explaining about how he felt about the situation.
I, too, thought it was an interesting and revealing comment.