Hawks, Philips Arena Rights For Sale

The NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and the operation rights to  are up for sale, thanks to a unanimous vote by the team’s owners to sell all shares.

Photo: facebook.com/philipsarena

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has said the city might offer concessions to any new owner to ensure the Hawks commit to remaining in Atlanta for another 30 years. It’s expected the team will stay put at least for the next couple of years, since there is a $75 million early termination fee if they leave 20,000-capacity Philips Arena before the 2018-19 season.

The ownership group, headed by Bruce Levenson and Ed Peskowitz, bought the Hawks, NHL Thrashers and operating rights to Philips Arena for $250 million in 2004.

The Thrashers were sold for $170 million in 2011 and moved to Winnipeg as the Jets. Levenson announced in September he was selling his stake in the team following the disclosure of an email he wrote two years ago.

The email contained inflammatory racial comments, including his theory the team struggles with attendance because “the black crowd scared away the whites.” Among those likely to consider buying the Hawks is Chris Hansen, the Seattle hedge fund manager who failed in a recent attempt to purchase the Sacramento Kings, but continues his efforts to build a new arena in his home city.