Louisiana announces new lease with the Hornets through 2024

Home Sweet Hive.

Jimmy Smith of the Times-Picayune is reporting that the State of Louisiana will announce a new lease with the New Orleans Hornets today that runs through 2024. You can read his article here.

UPDATE: It's official. Here's a link to the press release.

Highlights:

- As stated above, the lease will run through 2024 and will contain no "escape clauses," such as the ones associated with attendance benchmarks in the current lease.

-The NBA has guaranteed that the All-Star Game will return to New Orleans at some point during the period of the lease. This is great news for New Orleans and the League, as no place does "the big game" like NOLA does.

-State legislature will be asked to approve a $50 million bond issuance that will fund improvements to the New Orleans Arena, aimed at increasing revenue-generating opportunities for the Hornets that remove the need for state subsidies.

-As with the recently signed lease with the New Orleans Saints, the lease is expected to remove the annual subsidy payments that the State had been making to both teams in recent years.

-The lease will save the State approximately $70 million annually and there will be no new taxes associated with it.

-The Hornets could potentially receive another $10 million in capital outlay funds to be used on further improvements of the Arena or to the Hornets' practice facility.

-The lease MUST be accepted by the new owner when the team is purchased from the NBA. With the lease out of the way, the ownership search SHOULD wind down with possible owners able to make their final offers now that they know the specifics of the new lease. The sale of the team is now down to the final negotiations between David Stern and the League and the possible owners. There are no more excuse, no more roadblocks, it's time for Stern to get this deal done.

This is a good day for the Hornets, their fans, and the City. This was a big step to putting all of this mess behind us. Once the sale is complete, we can go back to being a normal terrible basketball team. I, for one, can't wait to not see "league-owned" in front of every mention of the team. A big puzzle piece is in place, and it could be moving fast from here. Stay tuned. Geaux Hornets.

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