But a source who worked directly with Tom Benson during his purchase of the Pelicans said over the weekend that there was no doubt that Gayle Benson would keep both teams for the foreseeable future. “There may be some changes later, but nothing imminent or early,” the source said. And any notion of the Pelicans moving any time soon is tempered by the reality that the Pels, thanks to the league’s revenue sharing plan, don’t really have much financial incentive to sell.
Storyline: Gayle Benson Selling Pelicans?
The Pelicans’ lease at Smoothie King Center runs through 2024, though. And if Gayle Benson isn’t looking for a quick flip of the franchise, the likelihood of anything happening, at the very least, before then appears remote. And the NBA has gone to great lengths to ensure the stability and viability of a franchise in New Orleans since the then-Hornets moved there from Charlotte in 2002. The franchise’s history with the city and state has been one of deal making that has helped the franchise remain economically viable as it fights for audience share locally — the Pelicans are currently 25th in the league in attendance, per ESPN.com, at 16,418 per game. The NFL’s Saints, which Benson also owned, are the clear top dog in town for fans’ affections, but they had a 35-year head start on the basketball team.