NFL Saints Owner Benson’s Purchase of NBA Hornets Gets Approval

The purchase of the National Basketball Association’s New Orleans Hornets by Tom Benson was completed following approval by the league’s Board of Governors.

Terms of the transaction weren’t released by the league yesterday. The deal is worth $338 million, according to a person with direct knowledge of the transaction, who was granted anonymity because the NBA didn’t make the sale terms public.

Benson, owner of the National Football League Saints, bought the Hornets from the league’s 30 owners, who purchased the team from George Shinn in December 2010.

“There is a lot of excitement in the region about the franchise, especially after winning the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft,” Benson said in a statement. “We have been successful with the Saints and I know we can translate that success to our NBA team as well.”

The Hornets’ lease extension with the state, which provides funding for upgrades to the New Orleans Arena and eliminates all exit options, attendance benchmarks and financial inducements, was approved by Governor Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana legislature.

“Championship performance is tied to fan support and the passion of the New Orleans sports fan is second to none,” Benson said. “We look forward to joining up with all of our valued current fans and also introducing this great team game to many more residents of our city and region.”

In addition to the first selection in the NBA draft June 28, the Hornets also have the 10th pick. New Orleans will host the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.

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