Plans are in movement to bring an elite European basketball team to the northern German metropole Hamburg – perhaps as early as 2009. A local Hamburg newspaper reported that two American investors are talking about having a budget of 10-12 million euros for the club.

The Hamburger Abendblatt said on Wednesday that American investor Henry Feinberg and his long-time business friend Steven M. Julius would like to buy a basketball team in the city – and one that should complete among the elite in Europe sooner rather than later.

The paper said the decision would come by the end of this year and that a club could be added to the German BBL league for next season – most likely through a wild card.

Feinberg is a venture partner with Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), which has not been hit by the financial crisis in the U.S. and just last week invested 250 million dollars in the world’s leading online vacation rental marketplace HomeAway. And Julius is president of the consulting company Workplace Solutions.

The report went on to say that the contact to Feinberg and Julius was made by the United for Sport agency, based in Nottensdorf in the outskirts of Hamburg. Mark Schober is the managing director and has been trying to get a first division basketball club in Hamburg for years.

Schober is aparantely working closely with American Don Beck, who coached a number of years in the German BBL, and former German international player Denis Wucherer. The duo apparently would be responsible for forming the new team.

Feinberg and Julius have already met with BBL Commissioner Jan Pommer. The league has large interest in bringing a club to Hamburg, which for the past two years has hosted the German Cup Final Four at the state-of-the-art Color Line Arena.

The investors also have met with city’s Chamber of Commerce, marketing officials and the sports authorities. They also had a sight visit of the Sporthalle Hamburg facilities, which could hold up to 5,000 spectators – even though the duo would rather have games in the 14,000-seat Color Line Arena.

The paper said the European head of the American Anschutz Entertainment Group, which has been running the arena for about a year, is open to compromise regarding open dates.

The Abendblatt quoted Feinberg and Julius as “very impressed and positively surprised by Hamburg and its possibilities”.

Tags

 

1 Comment

  1. Doug Sutton says:

    Having lived 27 years in Hamburg and seen American sports come and go, my guess is that it would not be a bad idea to start a basketball team out in the Sporthalle, rather than the Color Line Arena. Sporthalle is located centrally in the city, a few minutes walk from a subway stop, and probably the rental costs for it would be something for a new club to manage better. Color Line Arena is certainly a new state-of-the-art multi-purpose place (I know it from watching Freezers ice hockey matches there) and would, of course, offer the show-biz atmosphere of modern big-time basketball. But it is less accessible via public transport than the Sporthalle. If I were making a decision, I would start the team out in Sporthalle, see how attendance figures and public support develop, and then see whether a move to Color Line would be financially viable.