If the Hornets don’t average crowds of at least 14,213 during their next 13 home games, the franchise can opt out of its lease agreement with Louisiana, according to The Times-Picayune.It’s part of a complex agreement the franchise reached with the state when it returned from a two-season hiatus in Oklahoma City following Hurricane Katrina.
In short, contingent upon their return, the Hornets must average at least 14,735 fans over season-and-a-half periods. The current period ends on January 31.
The Hornets appeared to be safe when they averaged 15,072 fans per game last season. But despite a franchise best 13-5 start, just 14,214 fans show up to the average game. If that number decreases at all, the franchise could take steps to abandon New Orleans.
Another aspect of the bizarre agreement stipulates that if the Hornets don’t average at least 14,750 fans per game, the heavily indebted state of Louisiana owes the franchise $6.8 million.
The Hornets rank 25th among 30 NBA teams in and that could be reason enough for the team to move – especially considering its on-court success.
“From a team perspective, we believe we have a compelling product that deserves to be playing in a full building, ” Hornets President Hugh Weber said Sunday after a crucial game against the San Antonio Spurs, which drew 12,449
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