MLB Exec In Talks For Hawks, Arena

John Moores, chairman of the San Diego Padres baseball franchise, is looking to get into the basketball arena and reportedly has entered an exclusive negotiating period to buy the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.

With any such deal would come operating rights to Philips Arena, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Moores has no reported interest in picking up the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, which also calls Philips Arena its home ice. Both teams and the arena rights are owned by Atlanta Spirit LLC.

Moores owned the Padres from 1994-2009, when he agreed to sell the franchise to a group headed by Jeff Moorad, who is a former part-owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks MLB team.

Moores has an Atlanta connection: He was chairman of the board of trustees of The Carter Center.

While a buyer is being sought that would keep the Thrashers in Atlanta, the terms of the funding agreement for Philips Arena requires the Hawks to remain in the city until its bonds are paid off, which is scheduled for 2028, according to The Sporting News.