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admin 05.02.2015

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Michael Heisley, the majority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, said Monday he had reached a deal to sell the NBA club to an entity owned by technology magnate Robert Pera. Heisley, who bought the Vancouver Grizzlies in 2000 before they moved to Memphis in 2001, said in a statement he has enjoyed the support the team has received in its current home. That was the gist of a four-hour meeting Saturday of team owner Michael Heisley, his top executives, and several Memphis business and community leaders. Others at the meeting were Stan Meadows, Chris Wallace, and Greg Campbell representing Heisley and the Grizzlies, and Memphians Pitt Hyde (a minority owner) Bryan Jordan, Lawrence Plummer, Billy Orgel, Otis Sanford, Bob Henning, and Joe Hall, the head of a public relations firm in Nashville that worked with NBA NOW 12 years ago.
Wallace discussed player personnel; the Grizzlies are at full strength for the first time in this abbreviated season, but are battling to make the NBA Playoffs and repeat or exceed last year's exciting run to the second round. Heisley fielded questions and emphasized that he would like to see the team remain in Memphis indefinitely.

The Grizzlies hope to duplicate the success of San Antonio and Oklahoma City as winning teams in cities with a single major-league team. Board members asked if the Grizzlies can coexist with the University of Memphis Tigers, who sometimes play at FedEx Forum less than 24 hours before or after a Grizzlies came. The most vulnerable teams, along with Memphis, are considered to be New Orleans, Charlotte, and Sacramento. Attendance has improved since 2008 when the Grizzlies were 29th in the league and averaged 12,770 fans at each home game. Heisley, Turley said, is a Battier admirer and would gladly have him running one of his companies. The news was first announced during Adam Silver’s press conference before Game 4 of the Memphis Grizzlies playoff game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

When the Grizzlies moved to Memphis, the threshold was set at 14,900, which the team exceeded in 2004-2005, the opening year for FedEx Forum, with average attendance of 16,862.
But by 2007 the Grizzlies were last in the league in attendance and in 2008 the Flyer questioned whether Memphis could not cut it in the NBA.

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