Alex Meruelo, the first Hispanic owner of an NBA team, has bought the Atlanta Hawks in the middle of an NBA lockout which still shows no signs of letting up. And as such, the wisdom behind this purchase decision has been questioned by many. Marullo could not completely answer all the questions that were posed to him during the Atlanta news conference because of the lockout, except that he said it has always been his dream to own an NBA team.
Meruelo was asked whether he was hesitant to make the purchase to which he answered that a certain amount of hesitation is always to be expected. He sees tremendous growth opportunity for the sport and the city of Atlanta, he thinks, will be very embracing.
Why do seemingly intelligent businessmen continue to keep buying franchises when all the NBA franchises seem to be losing money? And with the lockout, the next season may even be cancelled.
Meruelo is not the only one to make a buy when things are not so great. The Detroit Pistons were sold for $325 million to Tom Gores. The deal included the Palace at the Auburn Hills.
The fact is that this is a great time to buy into NBA. There is a great opportunity for growth and lockout is just a part of the growth. It is part of the constantly evolving and growing NBA landscape. Even if the fans are turned off by the game, they will indeed come back for the love of the game. Remember what happened during the baseball strike in 1994, the NBA lockout in 1998 and the NHL lockout in 2004? The fans came back after the lockout, didn’t they? They will again and that’s what smart businessmen like Alex Meruelo and Tim Gores realize.