Gayle Benson is the principal owner of both the New Orleans Pelicans and New Orleans Saints.
She inherited the teams upon the 2018 death of her husband and previous owner Tom Benson.
That the Saints and Pelicans have the same owner played a factor in the trade demand Anthony Davis provided the Pelicans over the weekend, The Athletic reports.
Report: Davis worried Saints prioritized over Pelicans
More specifically, Davis is reportedly concerned the Pelicans are a secondary concern to ownership in the shadow of the Saints.
Per The Athletic:
As if it’s not tough enough as it is to convince a megastar to stay in a small market, a source with knowledge of Davis’ thinking said the idea that the Pelicans were less of a priority to ownership than the Saints has been a growing concern.
Of course the Saints are the top priority
Davis’ concern is an obvious one. The Saints are clearly the priority in New Orleans, as is the case with almost any city that has an NFL team. The NFL is the biggest business in American sports.
But how much of Davis’ reported concern that the Saints are a priority plays out in the running of the Pelicans is based in reality or perception is unclear.
Benson’s ownership of the Saints and Pelicans is unique in that she is the only NFL owner to own an NBA franchise in the same market as her football team. But she’s far from the only owner to have interests spread across multiple sports franchises.
Other NFL owners own multiple franchises
Kim and Terry Pegula spent part of their fracking fortune on purchasing the Buffalo Bills and the NHL’s Sabres.
Stan Kroenke is the ownership face of the rebirth of Los Angeles Rams, but his ownership group is also in charge of the bulk of the Denver sports scene including the Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche as well as the Premier League’s Arsenal Football Club.
Late Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen also owned the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.
We’ve not heard reports of Nikola Jokic being worried about the Rams getting too much attention or Damian Lillard wanting out of Portland because the Seahawks were the prize of Allen’s eyes.
Does it matter?
While NFL teams are the biggest sports businesses of cross-sports owners, that doesn’t necessarily mean their NBA and NHL counterparts are receiving short shrift.
But the existence of the Saints and the Pelicans in the same market under the same ownership creates more room for that perception. Especially considering the recent fortunes of both franchises.
The perception does
And whether Davis’ reported concerns are based in reality or not is irrelevant. It’s a concern he has, and he has the power to force the Pelicans’ hands in this situation.
It’s a perception that doesn’t bode well for the short-term or long-term outlook of the Pelicans with Davis or any other coveted NBA star they might have under contract in the future.
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