Basketball HOF Also in Financial Trouble

And another museum finds itself in financial issues.

Officials at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame say its finances have stabilized enough to get it to the busy summer months, though it still owes millions of dollars.

This is better news than the hall’s president and CEO, John Doleva, sent out in February, when he penned a letter outlining a crisis that could have forced the facility to sell some of its memorabilia. In a worst-case scenario, it might also have had to consider selling the hall of fame itself or declaring bankruptcy.

Doleva said they want to craft a long-term plan for stability without a day-to-day countdown over survival, though broader issues of raising money and eliminating debt still need immediate attention. The debt, estimated between $4 million and $5 million, includes a $3.5 million loan established in 2008 with a seven-year term, he said.

The sale of memorabilia to pay off debt might have been as controversial as bankruptcy. Appraised in 2004 at $10 million, the hall’s artifacts have been largely donated by basketball stars, coaches and families.

The museum is preparing to mark its 50th year this season, and there is that Jordan induction this year, as well.

I wonder what the overhead is for a museum. If the material is donated, then its up-keep and the usual costs of running a building, plus employee expenses. But is attendance that much down to be causing all of these problems? It’s the third museum in the past few weeks that has announced either closing or financial problems, though this is the most high-profile example.

The NBA makes enough money, right? Can’t they help supplement this thing? Any other suggestions of the hoops HOF?

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