Exactly How Racist Was Atlanta Hawks Owner Bruce Levenson’s Email? » VSB

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Exactly How Racist Was Atlanta Hawks Owner Bruce Levenson’s Email?

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It was quite a weekend in sports. Serena won again, the NFL proved (again) that we’re all hypocrites, and Steph Curry decided to go all Steph Curry against Mexico. He must be racist.

For me, though, the most interesting sports-related item was the news that Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson would be selling his share of the team after a racially insensitive email he sent in 2012 was revealed.

Now, there are several theories about the timing of the decision. Some think Levenson — encouraged by the outrageous figures the Clippers and the Bucks recently sold for — is just using this as a convenient opportunity to sell the team and make a profit. Some think there are other, more damaging emails that, by owning up to this one, Levenson is trying to keep quiet. And some think it happened because Jay Z is cheating on Beyonce with Elle Varner.

Either way, I’m not as interested in the timing of the email as I am with the actual content of it. Specifically, exactly how racist is it? Having read the entire letter a few times, here’s a paragraph-by-paragraph breakdown of Levenson’s racism (or lack thereof).

From: Bruce Levenson

To: Ferry, Danny

CC: Foreman, Todd (ucg.com); Peskowitz, Ed (ucg.com)

Sent: 8/25/2012 11:47:02 PM

Subject: Re: Business/Game ops

1. from day one i have been impressed with the friendliness and professionalism of the arena staff — food vendors, ushers, ticket takers, etc. in our early years when i would bring folks from dc they were blown away by the contrast between abe pollin’s arena and philips. some of this is attributable to southern hospital and manners but bob and his staff do a good job of training. To this day, I can not get the ushers to call me Bruce yet they insist on me calling them by their first names.

2. the non-premium area food is better than most arenas, though that is not saying much. i think there is room for improvement and creativity. Levy is our food vendor so we don’t have much control but they have been good partners. i have wished we had some inconic offereing like boog’s barbeque at the baseball stadium in balt.

3. our new restaurant, red, just opened so too early for me to give you my thoughts.

Nothing really racist yet, although words like “professionalism” and “southern” and “baseball” and “dc” can be dog whistles. Verdict: 5% racist. 

4. Regarding game ops, i need to start with some background. for the first couple of years we owned the team, i didn’t much focus on game ops. then one day a light bulb went off. when digging into why our season ticket base is so small, i was told it is because we can’t get 35-55 white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo for season tickets around the league. when i pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders.

then i start looking around our arena during games and notice the following:

— it’s 70 pct black

— the cheerleaders are black

— the music is hip hop

— at the bars it’s 90 pct black

— there are few fathers and sons at the games

— we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel.

Then i start looking around at other arenas. It is completely different. Even DC with its affluent black community never has more than 15 pct black audience.

Before we bought the hawks and for those couple years immediately after in an effort to make the arena look full (at the nba’s urging) thousands and thousands of tickets were being giving away, predominantly in the black community, adding to the overwhelming black audience.

My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a signficant season ticket base. Please dont get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arean back then. i never felt uncomfortable, but i think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority. On fan sites i would read comments about how dangerous it is around philips yet in our 9 years, i don’t know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games.

The observations Levenson’s making aren’t wrong. When you make something too Black, it has a tendency to turn off many people. It happens with certain brands. It’s happening to certain cities and certain neighborhoods. And it even happened to the NBA. Even if something is safe and quality, having too much Blackness associated with it gives many the impression it’s unsafe and lacking quality. If you want something to be considered to be good, to be wholesome, to be worth talking about, it needs to be “White” or racially neutral — which is another one of saying “White.”

Also, saying “tendency to turn off many people” instead of “tendency to turn off White people” was intentional. Because White people are not the only ones who do this. That type of racialized thinking is so pervasive that it affects us too, where some of us instinctively dismiss or downgrade something if we think it’s too Black. Basically, fuck slavery. Verdict: 35% racist.

I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while i don’t care what the color of the artist is, i want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that’s our season tixs demo. i have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some time out contest is black. I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black.

Gradually things have changed. My unscientific guess is that our crowd is 40 pct black now, still four to five times all other teams. And my further guess is that 40 pct still feels like 70 pet to some whites at our games. Our bars are still overwhelmingly black.

This is obviously a sensitive topic, but sadly i think it is far and way the number one reason our season ticket base is so low.

What Levenson is doing here is a form of respectability politics (RP) that has never really been proven to work. Again, his observations aren’t wrong. But his conclusion — “…I think it is far and away the number one reason our season ticket base is so low” — is classic RP, thinking an aesthetic change (less Blacks at games) will have an effect on a structural issue (season ticket base), and blaming that structural issue on an aesthetic concern.

As anyone familiar with both sports culture and Atlanta sports culture will tell you, the city of Atlanta is notoriously poor at supporting professional sports teams. Even when the Atlanta Braves were dominating the national league, they never were able to draw great crowds.

Part of this is due to the nature of the city. Atlanta, from what I understand, is filled with transplants. This is especially true when controlling for the types of people with disposable income. And, when you have a city full of transplants, you’re not going to have as many ties to the local sports teams.

More importantly, the Atlanta Hawks are entering their third consecutive decade of lukewarm basketball. They are, effectively. the Memphis Bleek of the NBA. No one checked for Bleek verses, but no one hated them either. They just existed. And that’s what the Hawks have done over the past 30 years. Just existed. They haven’t had a star on their team since Dominique Wilkins. Even then, as good as Nique was, you knew the Hawks weren’t beating the Bulls, Celtics, or Pistons in a series.

And, when you’re in Atlanta — a city soooo much shit to do — and you’re not even from Atlanta, what incentive do you have to spend good money to watch Memphis Bleek perform 41 shows a year? Verdict: 52% racist.

And many of our black fans don’t have the spendable income which explains why our f&b and merchandise sales are so low. At all white thrasher games sales were nearly triple what they are at hawks games (the extra intermission explains some of that but not all).

He has a valid concern here. I have no facts or figures to back this up, but I do think we (Black people) are less likely to buy team-related apparel than White people are. Even when I go to college and pro games, the other Black people I tend to see are dressed regularly while the White fans seem to be more likely to wear a jersey or some other type of team/school gear. I wouldn’t put this on spendable income, though. Instead, I think it’s just a cultural thing. When White fans buy jerseys, it tends to be for fandom. When Black fans do, it tends to be for fashion. Verdict: 32% racist

Regardless of what time a game starts, we have the latest arriving crowd in the league. It often looks and sounds empty when the team takes the floor.

No caveats here. This is very true. We (Black people) are late as fuck. Verdict: 2% racist

In the past two years, we have created a section of rowdy college students that has been a big plus. And we do a lot of very clever stuff during time outs to entertain the crowd. Our kiss cam is better done than any in the league.

We have all the same halftime acts that other arenas have but i question whether they make sense. people are on their cell phones during half time. i wonder if flashing on the scoreboard “$2 off on hot dogs during halftime tonight” just as the half ends would be a better use of our halftime dollars and make the fans happier.

We do all the usual giveways and the fans are usually their loudest when our spirit crew takes the floor to give away t-shirts. It pisses me off that they will yell louder for a t-shirt then for our players.

Our player intro is flat. We manufacture a lot of noise but because of the late arriving crowd and the fact that a lot of blacks dont seem to go as crazy cheering (another one of my theories) as whites, it is not great. Even when we have just returned from winnng four straight on the road, i am one of the few people in the arena standing and cheering when our team takes the floor. Bob has kicked around ideas like having the starters coming down aisles rather than off the bench during intros. Sounds cool but may highlight all the empty seats at the start of games.

Not enough of our fans wear hawks jerseys to games. i have just begun to push for ideas like discount food lines for folks wearing jerseys, special entrances, etc. I think we need a committed and perhaps incentivized fan club. We need to realize atl is simply different than every other city. Just adopting nba best practices is not enough. we have to create our own.

I am rambling and could probably go on forever. If you have any specific areas you would like my thoughts on, let me know.

Best,

Bruce

ps — I have cc’d todd and ed so they can chime in with additional or different thoughts.

Sent from my iPad

Aside from his theory on the difference between Blacks and Whites cheering — which I’ll address in a sec — nothing else Levenson said is racially tinged. What I read here is a businessman concerned with his product’s profitability; a man who might not be a racist, but lazily drew racist conclusions to an issue that goes much deeper than any cosmetic racial concerns. Basically, it’s the Black people’s fault — not the city’s dynamic or his 40 degree day basketball team (that he helped construct, mind you) — that he’s not making as much money as he could.

Lastly, I don’t think he’s wrong about the cheering differences between Black and White fans. It’s something I’ve noticed as well. When you think “fanatic”, regardless of the sport, you think of a White fan donned in his team’s gear, screaming for his team’s players while booing and cussing at the opponents. My theory about why this is, though, probably differs a bit from Levenson’s. In regards to the three major sports — football and basketball especially — if a Black person goes to a game, he’s probably going to see people who look like him — or look like they can be friends with or related to them — on the field/court. It’s not just Lebron James out there, it’s a dude that looks like my tall homie from high school. (Or, in some cases, the dude who was my tall homie in high school.) And when you have this type of personal/racial connection, you’re going to be less likely to see them as just some anonymous athlete with a number on his back who you can cheer and boo with no prejudice.

These, of course, are just my thoughts. (Which likely makes me a little racist too, but we’re not talking about me today.)

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • menajeanmaehightower

    I saw nothing really wrong with his email. Read it yesterday and did wonder why was he ACTUALLY selling the team because this seemed like an excuse.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Conspiracy Theory Alert!!!!

      It almost seems like he knows that he can’t get the needle to move how he wants it to (due to the below the surface racial issues) and is looking to tap out rather than continue to push the boulder uphill.

      • tgtaggie

        Atlanta is a great market for a minority owner (I think?) If a somewhat popular owner (ie Magic) would to buy the team, I think they could be very successful.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          Magic’s going to have some of the same challenges.

          • tgtaggie

            He has appeal to some of the successful and high net worth minority business owners in the ATL. And there are quite a few of them. Or he could double down and making the Hawks the the team for “us”.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              Magic could get to the same critical mass point the current owner is at now. Magic wouldn’t have a problem putting an ownership team in place, the problem is the luxury boxes and season ticket sales. Those minority owners don’t want to see flat sales figures; they want ROI.

              Magic could double down on Black folks but would we stand with him and dole out the cash for season tickets, court side seats, $40 parking and $20 nachos for 41 games plus the playoffs?

    • BlueWave1

      This was my immediate thought as well. Now I’m rethinking that. This particular email and the issues it addresses doesn’t do much to help the value of the team. If I’m trying to sell the team I’m not going to cite these kinds of problems BEFORE soliciting bids.

    • tgtaggie

      To me it seems like a knee jerk reaction by selling the team. I think we all agree that Sterling comments and subsequent actions are far worst.

      As it stands today Adam Silver is having a much better week than Roger Goodell.

    • Val

      This is good old fashioned business racism. Some people, like him, believe that Black dollars aren’t as green as White dollars so he isn’t happy. He wants White dollars. Atlanta has one of the largest populations of Affluent Black folks. But, rather than try to woo them into becoming fans and attending games he’d rather kowtow to racist Whites.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        “This is good old fashioned business racism. Some people, like him,
        believe that Black dollars aren’t as green as White dollars so he isn’t
        happy. He wants White dollars.”

        Val look at the crux of the man’s issue; he’s looking to increase his penetration into a weak area within the white community and get more corporate dollars. If 70% of the seats are being filled by blacks, I’m pretty sure he’s getting some of those affluent folks. The question isn’t about the double down on black folks, it’s how do I grow after I double down? You don’t think the rap and gospel concerts were a double down effort? Dude didn’t say these things were going away, he wants to bring more folks under the tent.

        If this were politics, folks want the Republican party to have the same thought process as to how to bring blacks under the tent. Just because the thought process is going the other way folks want to gripe about it???

        • Val

          But it isn’t that simple. He’s allowing racist beliefs of some White folks to dictate his marketing. That’s the problem.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            It is that simple. You have to consider all feedback and formulate a plan. Simply because the current optics are in my favor doesn’t mean the other side doesn’t have a point. He started with the low hanging fruit and made sure the cheerleaders were more diverse and the kiss camera showed a few White faces. He’s changing up the music; we can stand 30 seconds of AC/DC or John Mellencamp. The harder part is getting folks to make the big fiscal commitment (white and black) on season tickets so he can stop discounting individual tickets.

      • “Atlanta has one of the largest populations of Affluent Black folks”

        …because all the Blacks are poor and all the Whites have money.
        you’re absolutely right about it being racist.

      • menajeanmaehightower

        I don’t agree. He wants dollars. If he was getting dollars the way the other teams were, i doubt he would have complained. To me, this was a man talking business.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    Wild Cougar and I are having this same discussion in the old school music post. I cosign the following statement you made

    “What I read here is a businessman concerned with his product’s profitability”

    These discussions occur in boardrooms across the globe when it comes to what can we do to increase revenue. Dude should not lose his job over this. Maybe more memos should be leaked to show how demographics are being looked at and targeted. I doubt it will make any of us feel better.

    • tgtaggie

      This is tame compared to some of the stuff executives would say about certain demographics.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        case in point cigarette and malt liquor companies.

      • Paradigm

        Lady at the airport ticket counter apologized to me last week b/c she had to “deal w/ the Chinese and they take forever.”

        – Yep, she said that to me.

    • AlwaysCC

      marketing demos are largely talked about in chex, age, race groups. i did a case study in b school about harley davidson. the FIRST thing my group decided was that harley needed to do a better job at marketing to younger riders, women, and blacks (which they are actually doing). while his analysis may not be precise, his thought process in *this* email doesn’t scream racism to me (even if he does wear white robes at home).

    • AlwaysCC

      ugh – forgot to substitute my “bad word” stuck in moderation…

    • Val

      But when you look to increase revenue by looking at Black folks, who are paying customers, as problems because some Whites are uncomfortable around Black folks then it’s not simply trying to increase revenue.

      If it was only about money why not identify and market to Black folks with enough disposable income to buy (overpriced) NBA apparel?

      • The answer is in the comment I posted elsewhere on here. Simply put, Black fans ain’t that loyal to the hometown team. If you’re a team owner, that’s a problem, since fewer Black fans are willing to buy your stuff, even if they’re buying tickets and food. That merchandising money is not chump change.

        • Val

          I’m going to need to see some real numbers. Like I said down thread; it was Black folks that made wearing team apparel popular in the first place. So how is it that we don’t buy team apparel all of a sudden?

          I’d also like to see some real evidence that Black folks are less loyal to their hometown teams.

          • Andrea

            My thing. IT is inconceivable to me….that he doesn’t seem to have a business plan in place…AT ALL??? He should have the data to all of your questions.

            • Val

              True. The NBA is expert at marketing so why isn’t he soliciting help from the league’s marketing department? Seems like he knew something wasn’t right about his thought process.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                The league only can help but so much. Who do you think is behind the multiple jerseys anyway??? The teams because they are hoping to get you to buy the latest and greatest.

              • Andrea

                I think if he is selling it has nothing to do with racial remarks. But the fact he looks like a business and financial idiot.

          • This is the study I was talking about: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/14/upshot/different-nba-loyalties-for-black-and-white-neighborhoods.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

            While Black people disproportionately watch NBA games (they’re ~45% of the viewing audience), they don’t cheer for the home team. They tend to follow players more. It’s nice for a team when those teams come to town, but how else are you going to sell tickets and merchandise otherwise?

            • Val

              Okay, thanks for this info. I’ll check it out.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          @disqus_QGKOTi1oX5:disqus ask yourself and your wallet this question, after spending $80 on a ticket, $40 on parking, and $30 nachos and a drink, given the choice of spending $150 in an arena for a jersey or $70 at Champs, where are you buying said jersey if at all?

          • Val

            That depends on what demo I fall into. The trick is to get impulse buyers with disposable income through the gate. Does it matter if they are Black or White?

            • Sigma_Since 93

              “The trick is to get impulse buyers with disposable income through the gate”

              The metrics show the folks with the most disposable income are White. This is why he’s looking at going after those dollars. Notice dude never said he wasn’t also chasing the Black dollar; we just assume that.

  • One thing that I noticed elided in all the analyses in this letter was his talk about hockey merchandise sales. Unless you’re hardcore into the business of sports, it’s hard to know, but the NHL sells more merchandise per fan than any other sports league on the planet, and that includes the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. It’s the reason they can make so much money with lukewarm TV ratings. A NHL owner knows he can sell a full arena merchandise and jerseys even if his TV ratings stink. A NBA owner doesn’t necessarily have that luxury, and for him to act brand new about that fact is odd, to say the least.

    Still, this is one of those structural racism deal, FWIW. Black people have less money, on average, than White people, so they have less disposable income on games. I also think the identification fact is real. There’s no league that Black people cheer for that is filled with people they have zero connection to. The identification factor probably impacts merchandise sales too. I think I saw a study showing that majority Black zip codes throughout the US have lower loyalty to the local basketball teams, with the few exceptions being in and around NY and LA.

    This is another example of structural racism, where otherwise neutral decisions have a real disparate impact.

    ETA: Here’s the study in question: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/14/upshot/different-nba-loyalties-for-black-and-white-neighborhoods.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

    • Sigma_Since 93

      The issue is why are whites uncomfortable when in the presence of a large number of blacks? Nobody’s looking to rob or rape them; if you paid full price for the tickets, parking and food, you’ve been got already and have something in common.

      • It goes back to that study that showed that the average White adult in America has a grand total of ONE close White friend. Black culture feels unfamiliar to them, but they feel it should be because we all live in the same country. As a result, they get awkward and would rather just do the dip as opposed to trying something new. It’s a phenomenon that takes place throughout marketing where the unfamiliar is hard to sell.

      • Val

        Why is that an issue? Who cares why or if they are uncomfortable around us. In this case all that should matter is revenue. So why isn’t he wooing affluent Black folks to attend games? Since the team is in a city with a large Black population why isn’t he wondering how to improve marketing to the Black demo that will buy team apparel?

        • Sigma_Since 93

          Isn’t is clear; folks won’t go places where they don’t feel comfortable. That’s a problem for any business. The question isn’t about wooing Black folk; let’s keep it 100% all the assets of affluent Blacks don’t measure up to affluent Whites. Besides, if I had 100% of the affluent Black dollars, I still want 100% of the affluent White dollars.

          Champ provided the rationale on the apparel. I’m the biggest Yankee and Steeler fan there is and I don’t own one piece of Yankee garb and if it weren’t for the Mrs I wouldn’t have any Steeler apparel.

          • I’ve owned a lot of Jets gear over the years, but it pales in comparison to what I see White people buying. It’s a LOT of stuff.

            • Agreed. I got 3 Steeler jerseys and thats it. My white friend at work has a STEELERS DRAWER for his Steelers gear….

          • Val

            Please correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t it Black folks that started and made the wearing team jersey/ cap thing popular?

            • As a fashion statement, yes. In general, no one really did.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              It don’t mean a darn thing if dude with the throwback (provided it’s not counterfeit) is not in the stands eating my popcorn and drinking my beer.

        • If I read the email correctly, the league has trouble selling those seats to well off Black people in general. If it’s a league wide thing, I don’t know if it’s his job to solve that problem.

      • afronica

        I don’t think anyone really knows why actual black people = fear for whites. I think Levenson’s e-mail makes some valid points, but it would be interesting to see what would happen if black people stopped coming to the arena, but they kept all the other black elements that he thinks are a problem. In other words, Justin TImberlake the game day experience. I bet he’d get more of the white butts in seats that he wants.

        But the fear of a black people is undeniable. I ran across a couple of studies recently that prove the point. Most people will say that they want to live in an integrated neighborhood. When blacks are asked to put a number to what integrated means, a majority of people talk about a 50-50 split. But when whites are asked, a majority cite a 10% black share. Whites begin to talk about leaving the area when the 15% black threshold is crossed, and by the time you hit 30%, white flight has begun.

        The other study dealt with the effect of blackness on property values. Even when markers that normally determine property value are equivalent (crime rate, school ranking, house sizes and amenities, number of parks and trees and amount of green space, walkability, etc.), the blacker a neighborhood is, the more the property values decline. It can account for as much as a $100,000 difference between the value of similar properties in racially different neighborhoods.

    • Andrea

      ” A NBA owner doesn’t necessarily have that luxury, and for him to act brand new about that fact is odd, to say the least.” So this wasn’t his first email on his first day of thinking about being involved with the team? It sounded like he knew nothing about the team, basketball, the city, or business? How does he not have research on all of those concerns. What does the marketing department do? What do the interns with MBA’s do? He named like 30 research projects. Shouldn’t those assignments have been turned in by now? That is odd.

      • afronica

        Sounds like he bought a team, sight unseen. Then he discovered he had a tip-off attendance problem, a papering the house problem, a season ticket sales issue, underwhelming food & bev sales, a merch issue…

        Who spends that kind of $$ but doesn’t do his due diligence? I just don’t understand that.

  • joewards

    Well said.

    I write this as non-“hey, he’s fine because he has black associates”ish as possible, but Levenson and his family did a lot to get UMD’s Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Management off the ground (not to mention their community work). In my admittedly few interactions w/ him in grad school, I didn’t get weird vibes. In fact, I was struck by how adamant he was that wealth wasn’t enough to make him happy: that he felt compelled to serve people of all stripes. And yes, service doesn’t a non-bigot make, but this whole thing feels sorta overblown.

    I think he was trying to inarticulately make a point, but as you’ve alluded to, he’s not that far off-base. Hopefully, him jumping ship isn’t a sign of worse emails to come.

    • tgtaggie

      It looks like he is getting ahead of the story (selling the team) so it won’t make him look as bad. Plus he will probably make a nice little profit. Albeit not a great as Sterling.

      I think the Hawks is a great team for a minority owner to own though.

  • OSHH

    I didn’t see the racism here either.

  • Epsilonicus

    I think what made people uncomfortable was that if he catered to racist White folks, all would be well.

    • Val

      That’s how I feel about too. He’s basically co-signing racist beliefs. So isn’t that racist?

  • cakes_and_pies

    This is one of the lowest points of watering the word ‘racist’ down to a trivial word. Don’t like the financial ratios? ROI lookin’ sparse? Holler “I’m racist” as a reasonable investment maneuver.

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    This is another case of so many racist things happening at once, that any mildly inappropriate thing could be carelessly bundled in with more high profile issues.

    We, the people, are petty.

    Always petty.

    You don’t have to like the language he used, but most people reading it never held a million dollars in their life let alone had to manage a multi-million dollar company, so while we may not like it, we all have to consider that crappy people are everywhere, but even moreso in areas we have no access to.

  • NomadaNare

    I’m going to have to agree with you here, Damon. I don’t really see anything explicitly racist per se, well at least no more than a typically insensitive white person. His thinking and logic needs a little work, but I don’t find it significantly more racist then cynical, clueless, white businessmen.

  • TheVilleintheA

    Read the email on my Sports Center App. I really didn’t have much of an issue with what Levenson had to report. I think he could’ve left out that he didn’t see very many black father and son’s attending the game but I guess that’s just me being sensitive. I have attended a few Celtic’s vs Hawks games ( was at attendance when Rondo got into it with the ref.) and at every one of those games there were more Celtics fans than Hawks fans. The same can be said for the Falcons, some years back when the Steelers played at the GA Dome, it looked like a Steelers home game. I think dude just wants out of owning the Hawks. Atlanta’s sports teams tend to suffer because there are so many people from other cities living here who are fans of there hometown team. Then there’s the issue of Atlantan’s being fans of other teams. A good friend of mine looovvvess the NY Giants and didn’t jump on the bandwagon when the Falcons started doing well. From my observation, the only team that is solidly loved here is the Georgia Bulldogs football team.

    • I do agree on the transplant thing. I can tell when the Knicks are on the road for the Hawks because my FB feed fills up with NY transplants at the game in the Knicks attire and an arena filled with Orange and Blue. If you’re a team owner, that’s a long term problem. You can’t depend on road opponents to fill your arena.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Miami has the same issue with the snow birds and Northern retirees. Miami’s been a good team over the years but that hasn’t stopped Knicks fans from showing up in solid numbers.

        • There’s also the fact that football is a much bigger deal down there, and the nicest part of the year weather-wise dovetails with football season in South Florida. I understand why leagues expanded down there, but football is always going to be king barring some radical cultural shifts.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      The father son piece speaks to the transference of the love of the game. Hopefully if Dad likes team and exposes son => son will like team. If only this were the case in my house. *hangs head*

    • menajeanmaehightower

      College football in the south is serious.

      • tgtaggie

        Especially in the SEC.

      • Learned that the hard way last year, when I watched a Rutgers-Arkansas game. The broadcasters were used to the sound from Rutgers games, and the sound picked up was so loud, it nearly blew out my TV speakers.

        • afronica

          Wooo pig sooey!

        • menajeanmaehightower

          It can be deafening.

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