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Added April 13th, 2012 by Chalk

Saints Owner Buying NBA Hornets

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson will buy the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets for $338 million, according to multiple reports. The NBA bought the Hornets in December 2010 for about $318 million when former owner George Schwinn couldn’t find a buyer that would keep the team in the Big Easy. The sale still needs to be approved by the NBA’s board of governors.

Earlier this year, Forbes magazine estimated the Hornets were worth $285 million, ranking 24th among NBA franchises. Forbes listed Benson’s net worth at $1.1 billion. Benson, an 84-year-old New Orleans native, also owns real estate, media properties and car dealerships.

The NBA has already negotiated a lease for the Hornets to keep playing in the New Orleans Arena through 2024, and includes provision for $50 million in improvements. The arena, which is owned by the state of Louisiana, is right across the street from the Superdome, where the Saints play. The NBA also worked on increasing the team’s corporate sponsorship, which should be easier to market as a package deal with the super popular Saints.

The NFL is fine with one of its owners owning an NBA team as long as it’s in the same market as his NFL team. Benson has owned the Saints since 1985.

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