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Earlier this year

Hawks deny Melbourne move

Illawarra Hawks have denied speculation that the club may take up an offer to move to Melbourne under a licence held by Hawthorn Football club.
New owner Simon Stratford sought to quash speculation today with a statement saying the club had no intention of making a move.
Below is a copy of Stratford's statement.

STRATFORD’S FULL STATEMENT

I wanted to update you on the current progress behind the scenes of the Illawarra Hawks Basketball Club.

As you are all aware we have endured some immense changes within the organisation in the past few weeks. One of these was sudden and unexpected, while the other I had been working through behind the scenes for some time. Currently I have been trying to get my head around the business to find an ownership structure which will help keep this club sustainable for years to come.

Three seasons ago I started on this adventure as a partner in the club, since then I have become passionate about the team and made some lifelong friends in the region. A region where I now own a home!

My goal is to continue to see this club grow from strength to strength in the Illawarra and have the Hawks continue to represent the region proudly on a national sporting stage.

Finding the right ownership structure is extremely important, I am having conversations with potential business partners and other parties interested in investing in the club, and I am confident we will find the right model to help the club prosper within the next few weeks. The next task at hand will be to find a new General Manager to guide our vision through the day to day. This club means a lot to so many people so it is not a taks that I am taking lightly. But I am confident that with the right people in place we will see the Hawks soar again.

There are a number of rumours bouncing around about clubs from other codes looking to buy an NBL license and that one of those licenses may be ours. This is the last thing that I would want to see happen. We have not been here for 40 seasons to see it all be taken away. This club was here before I came to town, and my goal is to see it carry on in the Illawarra long after I am gone. I have been having regular communications with the NBL around these topics and have assured them that relocation is not something that I am interested in.

The staff and I know we have a lot of hard work to do, but that is something that we are not afraid of. The coaching staff have been reviewing the season just past, and have begun planning our assault on the next NBL season. Our front office staff are looking at ways to continue to build on the recent growth in membership and exploring opportunities to make our game night experience even better for our great Hawkheads.

I appreciate your patience as all this has been going on and we will provide more information as we progress through the process.

Topic #42839 | Report this topic


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

That's sales 101 never admit it cause if it falls thru you piss off your existing fan base!

Reply #676194 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

I think that is the correct assumption. No one would be making this stuff up for no reason.

Reply #676196 | Report this post


Zodiac  
Earlier this year

Plus he says he wants to see the Hawks continue in the Gong. If he gets an offer he can't refuse the new owners might have different plans. Boti's blog post never said this guy planned to move the team to Melbourne.

Reply #676204 | Report this post


LoveBroker  
Earlier this year

Pardon my ignorance on this but if James Spenceley has divested his interest in the Illawarra Hawks, who bought said interest and why are they looking to sell again to the right 'ownership structure'?

Reply #676208 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

LoveBroker Spenceley bought the Hawks due to knowing LK. He either bought them after being encouraged to do so by LK or maybe even for LK but not in his name? Spenceley had enough so they've got a new owner who is just another puppet temporarily.

Reply #676209 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Hopefully the new owner will either be a knowledgeable basketball person or will leave the club's personnel decisions to someone who is

Reply #676210 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

The new owner of Spencely is already know. I fail to understand this Hawks rubbish when the majority owner has just changed. Makes no logical / financial sense all. Why would you but into a club (with alleged debts) only in the hope of securing a buyout deal from an AFL club?

Reply #676220 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

There is no shortage of people in the world who think they are great salesmen and are on the lookout for some quick dollars

Reply #676221 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

#220 I already said why - new owner is just another LK puppet.

Reply #676225 | Report this post


lel  
Earlier this year

http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5266730/hawks-wont-be-flying-south-stratford/

Reply #676242 | Report this post


Curtley  
Earlier this year

If youre a basketball fan in melbourne surely you wouldnt follow the oldest NBL team that has just relocated from.regional NSW. And if youre an AFL fan but dont follow the hawthorn hawks you are gonna hate this new team. Doesnt leave many ppl left.

Reply #676247 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Will they deny the Tassie rumours?

Reply #676256 | Report this post


Reality  
Earlier this year

It isn't happening yet!

due diligence is being done from both sides.

If they wipe the debt and purchase the franchise its a pretty good offer for the current owners to think about.

That plus no more free to air TV games if they stay in Illawarra will hurt the major sponsors!

Reply #676259 | Report this post


Proud  
Earlier this year

This seems as shifty as the bullshit that surrounded my Seattle Supersonics before they moved to OKC, this will ultimately hurt and piss off so many people.

But serious question for all. Who benefits from having a single NBL team in NSW? I can't help but think that that's a free kick for the A-League and even BBL that have their intrastate rivalries.

Speak with your wallet hawkheads

Reply #676260 | Report this post


koberulz  
Earlier this year

Is the Illawarra/Sydney rivalry that big a deal?

Reply #676267 | Report this post


WookieE  
Earlier this year

Is the Illawarra/Sydney rivalry that big a deal?

It is to Kings and Hawks fans... just as much as the ADL vs PER rivalry matters mostly to fans of those teams and not really others...

If this is true and goes through (I don't ever believe any flat out denials from anyone on face value) it will be really fucked up... This big city only mentality from LK isn't good for the league as a whole and while I'm not involved in any of the AFL tribalism, I can understand that it could be an issue and not just an automatic bunch of fans that will actually buy memberships and turn up to games...

Reply #676268 | Report this post


koberulz  
Earlier this year

It doesn't really seem to get played up all that much. Even the Cairns/Brisbane thing seems to have more behind it than the NSW rivalry.

Reply #676269 | Report this post


AngusH  
Earlier this year

I haven't traveled to the Gong for a game in years (sounds like a lot of Hawks fans haven't either), but I always like having Hawks fans in the stands at Kings games. With a newborn I missed a ton of home games this year, but even last year it seemed the number of travelling Hawks fans had cooled off a little.

I'd personally hate to lose the Gong, but at the same time if the fans aren't getting out to watch the team... LK wants the league to grow, and if the regional teams aren't drawing crowds, I'm not sure what other options there are. Hawks had a down year, but they were still an entertaining team to watch for the most part this year.

Reply #676270 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

No value with media partners by having a team in Illawarra.

Easier sell having two media markets engaged in each televised game rather than one.

The league already carries NZ & Cairns who add nothing to the media parents so moving Illawarra into a media market like Melb makes perfect sense.

Hobart/second NZ team don't add to media market hence they won’t ever join the league.

Reply #676291 | Report this post


alexkrad  
Earlier this year

Where there's smoke ...

Reply #676293 | Report this post


Isaac  
Earlier this year

Doesnt leave many ppl left.
I don't know how many the Hawks are getting to games, but if it's sub-3k, then maybe it's not an outrageous idea that a powerhouse AFL admin could get something rolling, convince its AFL members to give it a shot, and build a half-decent crowd.

I like Wollongong and I like the idea of these existing regional teams carrying on, but I can appreciate that if the plan is to make the NBL a really strong league, the reality might be that teams like the Hawks get phased out.

Wish there was a more viable second-tier league for these teams. Either ramping up the SEABL/ABL or splicing something in by BA.

Reply #676296 | Report this post


Haz  
Earlier this year

Its not just the NBL that appears to want to phase out underperforming regional teams. All codes are the same.

How many regional AFL clubs are there from 18 teams? Geelong and maybe Gold Coast. Though I wouldnt really call them regional as Geelong play a lot of home games in Melbourne and Gold Coast is a decent sized city.

NRL? I dont follow NRL but from 20 teams they have North Queensland as a regional club. Any others?

A-league only have Central Coast. Would Wellington be regional? Probably not. All other clubs are main capital city clubs.

The NBl from 8 teams has 2 regional clubs. You could also add NZ too. Disagree as much as you want but the NBL needs more visibility from bigger markets. And if long serving regional clubs are struggling to hold on then its hard to help them out.

Reply #676298 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

kr I am surprised at your comment re: Kings/Hawks rivalry. Maybe not during this current regime where everything has dropped off but it wasn't that long ago you would have fights after the game in the carpark outside WIN Entertainment Centre after another rivalry game.

But as with everything Hawks it has gone south in the past few seasons.

Reply #676333 | Report this post


koberulz  
Earlier this year

Oh, absolutely, I know it used to be a big deal. It just hasn't seemed to be recently.

Reply #676348 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Ah yes then we are on the same page then. Definitely has fizzled out.

Honestly to me since Spenceley took over it has been as a puppet of LK to keep an eighth team afloat in the league until something else happens. The crowds have fallen because it is a place holder franchise going through the motions until it can get moved.

Reply #676369 | Report this post


Zodiac  
Earlier this year

I don't know how many the Hawks are getting to games, but if it's sub-3k


Every time I looked at their crowds in the box scores this season it was between 2,000-2,500 a game.

Reply #676416 | Report this post


Isaac  
Earlier this year

Not going to cut it from here. Won't bring TV viewers either, unfortunately.

Reply #676426 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

This season from Au stadiums.

2,132 11/02/18 Basketball NBL: Illawara v Adelaide
2,254 02/02/18 Basketball NBL: Illawarra v New Zealand
2,234 28/01/18 Basketball NBL: Illawara v Cairns
2,526 21/01/18 Basketball NBL: Illawarra v Adelaide
2,836 13/01/18 Basketball NBL: Illawara v New Zealand
2,869 06/01/18 Basketball NBL: Illawara v Melbourne
3,396 31/12/17 Basketball NBL: Illawara v Brisbane
2,871 28/12/17 Basketball NBL: Illawarra v Cairns
2,346 23/12/17 Basketball NBL: Illawarra v Perth
2,150 16/12/17 Basketball NBL: Illawara v Melbourne
2,580 10/12/17 Basketball NBL: Illawara v Perth
2,396 16/11/17 Basketball NBL: Illawarra v Sydney
2,892 29/10/17 Basketball NBL: Illawarra v Sydney

Pathetic.

Reply #676431 | Report this post


Qean  
Earlier this year

Roughy playing in the three. Joe Ingles esque

Reply #676433 | Report this post


skull  
Earlier this year

Finished...

Reply #676442 | Report this post


WookieE  
Earlier this year

Ouch... I didn't think they were consistently THAT bad... In that case, everyone really makes decent points, stick a fork in them, they're done...

Moving forward though, is a single off season enough to ramp up any interest in a new team? Aren't other codes giving at least a full season to promote and get everything organised? (not that I'm surprised that the NBL would do it half arsed)

Reply #676444 | Report this post


Camel 31  
Earlier this year

I think crows , 36ers in talks...

Reply #676451 | Report this post


TimberBall  
Earlier this year

Haz, the Dragons in the NRL are from Illawarra.

I love having the Hawks in the league but it's in a sorry state of affairs. The team has been consistently good for the last decade, there is no competing codes at the same time (no NRL,AFL, A-League, BBL) in the Gong and the crowds are still poor. maybe Illawarra has given up on them and the NBL should do the same back to the city.

Reply #676453 | Report this post


Haz  
Earlier this year

Cheers Timberball, I forgot about the Dragons! Yes agree Illawarra has all but given up on the Hawks it seems. Or at best their support base is too low.

Regional clubs do well if they get good crowds and the town gets behind them (see Cairns). But as soon as the town gives up on them its hard to justify a place for them in a national league that needs sponsors, TV, media coverage etc (see Townsville).

Reply #676466 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

It's a catch-22 really. The club needed Spenceley's money to survive, but that has come at the expense of that great connection to the community that the Hawks had previously. They were saved by a guy with no ties in the region who didn't really understand what the Hawks were all about. Subsequently,those close ties to the team that the community felt, that genuine sense of 'our team' doesn't seem to exist anymore.

There's definitely a major disconnect that's occurred over the past three seasons - and for a team that's prided itself on its engagement in the Illawarra, that's really a potential death knell to a franchise in a regional town. The crowds for the Kings games are the biggest indication of a massive issue - as pointed out by others, those games in the past were guaranteed to at least get to the 4000 mark but the last couple of seasons the crowd numbers have been a disaster (partly because the Kings have stunk, but still).

Add in the exorbitant rent they've been paying to the WEC, which in turn has forced them to charge ridiculous ticket prices (a walk-up Platinum cost $75.00 and an average seat was running on an average of $45.00) in a town that's suffered an economic downturn, and there's no question they are in crisis, no matter what anyone may believe. I just don't see, barring another ownership change with an infusion of funds from a local, how the Hawks can survive in Wollongong much longer, despite what that Stratford character says.

Reply #676467 | Report this post


WookieE  
Earlier this year

When Spenceley came in, he immediately made moves that were against the Hawks traditional way of doing things... When he cut Dave Whatsisname, who was a big fan favourite and really was the prime example of the workhorse mentality of the Hawks, the lost the fans and never made any moves to get them back...

Some didn't return, but even the long term faithful, who were grateful that they still had a club thanks to him, still resented and disliked him and as the years went on, it just got worse... So combine that with the crazy rent (WEC stubbornly had the attitude of "well, where else are you going to play?" which will now bite them in the arse and now they're likely to get nothing if/when the Hawks relocate) and from that, ticket prices and also a season or two that had games clash with big community events, the indifference really set it...

The crowds for the Kings games are the biggest indication of a massive issue - as pointed out by others, those games in the past were guaranteed to at least get to the 4000 mark but the last couple of seasons the crowd numbers have been a disaster (partly because the Kings have stunk, but still).

I'm the first one to criticise the Kings and think that they can definitely be doing better off the court as well, but this statement is false... This season I think they were on course for setting the best average crowd size since their return? Looking at Austadiums, this seasons average was: 6321. They SHOULD be doing better, but they had a bad run there of several 4000-4400 crowds during an especially stinky period, but still, your numbers don't check out...

Reply #676485 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Wookie, can you read? I was talking about the HAWKS crowds, not the Kings home crowds. Imbecile.

Reply #676498 | Report this post


WookieE  
Earlier this year

Ohh... the Kings Hawks games, righto, I'll cop that... not having a good run on here lately... At least I can spell Anon properly though...

Reply #676522 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

I had no idea it was 45 bucks. if they can't put a game on and get people in for 20 bucks each you won't get families along in a regional area like the gong.

is there any other local venue they could renegotiate a better game night deal with? if the stadium owners won't go cheaper and there's no other local option. they're in trouble. or can they do a deal with local schools and do a kids go free for the cheap seats or something? anything to actually get more bums on seats and get people back in again.

Reply #676616 | Report this post


D2.0  
Earlier this year

Why would there be a "move"?
Its not like a league where the licences are actually worth something.

If somebody in Melbourne has the money for a team, they'll probably get one. If Hawks can't survive, they will fold.

Only reason the Hawks might buy the Hawks would be to try and circumvent the AFL ban on using their name.

Reply #676628 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

LK trying anything and everything to try and get rid of a lame duck regional team who lost its soul and is a money pit.

Reply #676630 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Pretty bad crowds when you consider Illawarra are one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the league.

I think if the league is to go to the next level, it has to be at the expense of these regional clubs, unfortunately.


Reply #677150 | Report this post


.  
Earlier this year

Next level?
You mean bankruptcy?

The League wasn't financially viable before LK took over, and all he has done is raise costs.
The promise was that rich clubs spending over the cap would be taxed and the money given to poorer clubs, and that could have worked. But like so many other promises, he has failed to deliver.
Townsville are gone, Illawarra look to be following suit, and Cairns only need a bad run to be on their arse and out the door. Whilst its also put the kibosh on most expansion plans. No "Wellington, Canberra, or Hobart" team will have the coin necessary to compete at this new level

Reply #677160 | Report this post


Anonymous  
Earlier this year

There's a lot of positive spin about what LK has done. But here is an incontrovertible fact. The league is PAYING someone to broadcast their games. They are getting ZERO revenue from a TV deal. I don’t care about 'other revenue streams’ whatever that means. To me, that’s just bullshit. Any major league, anywhere in the world, has a TV deal as its primary, must have revenue stream. And with the mediocre ratings the NBL gets now, what broadcaster is going to say "gee, we think the NBL is worth paying for"? Larry is paying for a lot of stuff, and good on him. We all love the NBL, and we all want it to survive and thrive. It’s a great competition. But let’s be real. There is no stability when it’s all about one guy paying for everything and no TV deal in sight.

Reply #677195 | Report this post




 

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