Hornets Laying Groundwork For Return To New Orleans

Thursday, March 22nd 2007, 2:21 pm
By: News On 6

NEW ORLEANS (AP) As the Hornets prepare for the last of their six games in New Orleans this season, their employees' thoughts are turning to next season, when they will leave their temporary home of Oklahoma City and play all 41 home games in Louisiana for the first time since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Since last March, the Hornets have been getting back in touch with ticket holders in New Orleans and trying to rebuild their fan base there.

The results over the summer will give the team and the NBA a better idea about whether keeping the Hornets in New Orleans is sustainable.

Friday, the Hornets will host the Los Angeles Lakers. The game sold out about a month in advance, and the Hornets' average attendance for six games in New Orleans this season will be slightly more than 17,000.

But such figures are a lot easier to reach over six games than 41.

It might have been easier to stay in Oklahoma City, where support for the team has been strong. But the Hornets' lease at the New Orleans Arena runs through 2012 and NBA Commissioner David Stern did not want the lease broken.