The changing face of the Atlanta Hawks has been highlighted by the departure of Bruce Levenson‘s Atlanta Hawks LLC consortium and the arrival of billionaire Tony Ressler and his fellow investors. Ressler’s arrival at the Hawks NBA franchise comes after he failed in an early bid to buy the New York Clippers and instead turned his attention to the fast improving Hawks to add to his expanding sporting empire. The arrival of Ressler comes with a large amount of sadness for many Hawks fans who had watched Bruce Levenson preside over a period of sustained growth and on court success that resulted in the franchise reaching the playoffs as a number one seed for the 2014-15 season.
Bruce Levenson arrived ion Atlanta in 2004 after achieving a large level of success in the oil and gas industry. Levenson and his business partner Ed Peskowitz set out to create a new form of oil industry newsletter in the 1970s from a spare room in Washington DC and succeeded in changing the way the industry received its information forever. By the time the buyout of the Hawks, NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers and the rights to operate Philips Arena were secured the business empire of Levenson was secure but his sporting franchises were not performing well. From a position at the very bottom of the NBA standings the Hawks rose up the standings until they were challenging for control of the eastern division in the final years of the Levenson fronted ownership.
The decade in charge of the Hawks has seen Bruce Levenson and his ownership partners turn the Hawks into a major force in the NBA, but their hope is that the introduction of new owners can spur the franchise on to even greater things. Eras Management’s Tony Ressler has already gained some experience of the sporting world through his minority ownership of the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers. In the first weeks of his ownership of the Hawks, Ressler has already ruffled a few feathers with an overhaul of the front office of the one time winner of the NBA Championship. The introduction of a number of front office officials who have experience working with the San Antonio Spurs is designed to bring a championship winning mentality to the franchise as the new owners look to make their mark on the team. The new owners will also have to live up to the community based work Bruce Levenson completed during his time with the Hawks, which pushed the franchise to a new level within the Atlanta area and across the US as a whole.