How Atlanta Hawks Owner Bruce Levenson Underestimated Black Purchasing Power

In this June 25, 2012, file photo, Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson introduces new Hawks president of operations and general manager Danny Ferry, right, during a news conference in Atlanta. Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. Ferry apologized Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, for “repeating comments that were gathered from numerous sources” about Deng. Hawks spokesman Garin Narain said that team’s investigation of Ferry's comments uncovered the racially inflammatory email written by Levenson. That discovery led to Levenson’s announcement Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, that he will sell his controlling share of the team. (AP Photo/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Johnny Crawford)
In this April 26, 2014, file photo, Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson cheers from the stands in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers in Atlanta. Levenson said Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, he is selling his controlling interest in the team, in part due to an inflammatory email he said he wrote in an attempt "to bridge Atlanta's racial sports divide." (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
In this April 26, 2014, file photo, Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson cheers from the stands in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers in Atlanta. Levenson said Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, he is selling his controlling interest in the team, in part due to an inflammatory email he said he wrote in an attempt “to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

 

(The Washington Post) – At the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., in 1995, African American men showed solidarity for African American businesses by waving dollar bills in the air.

Bruce Levenson must have missed this.

The soon-to-be-former Atlanta Hawks owner’s e-mail (see below) that disparaged the Hawks’ fans — black and white — will cost him his NBA franchise, as The Washington Post’s Michael Lee reported. But the e-mail isn’t just inflammatory. It doesn’t make economic sense.

Among other things, Levenson suggested in his e-mail of Aug. 25, 2012, that his team’s African American fans “scared away the whites” and that Atlanta didn’t have “enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.”

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