Former Atlanta Hawks majority owner Bruce Levenson is an incredible businessman. Born and raised in Silver Springs, Maryland, Levenson and his friend Ed Peskowitz started a very successful company called United Communications Group (UCG)in 1977. UCG also owns GasBuddy, a popular application which allows millions of drivers to find the lowest gas prices in their area. United Communications Group also owns several important newsletters including Oil Express, and a number of databases including Oil Price Information Service.
Bruce Levenson on brucelevenson.com is actually legendary in the business world. Not only is he involved with UCG and other businesses in the energy industry, his companies also play important roles in the healthcare, technology, mortgage banking, telecommunications, and several other industries. Plus he is involved in the IT industry media company TechTarget. Levenson is also an advisor for the private equity firm BIA Digital Partners. In 1997 Bruce Levenson was induced in the Hall of Fame of the Software and Information Industry Association for his work with UCG.
While Bruce Levenson is very well known among some of the most powerful people in the world of business, many members of the general public did not become aware of him until 2004. It was that year that Bruce Levenson became a majority partner in the Atlanta Spirit LLC group that purchased the Atlanta Hawks. Actually the group also purchased the Atlanta Thrasher, an NHL team, and the operating rights to Phillips Arena as part of a $250 million deal. The Thrashers had been losing money for years, so the Atlanta Spirit LLC quickly sold the team for about $100 million.
Levenson and the Atlanta Spirit’s management of the team have been brilliant. First they brought in Joe Johnson and other quality players. Next, they gave Dominique Wilkins, one of the Hawks best known and most beloved stars, a prominent and very visible position with the team. That increased interest in the team. When the salaries of Joe Johnson and the other high profile Hawks players became too much of a drain on the bottom line, Levenson and the ownership group traded them and began to rebuild the Hawks from the ground up using less expensive players.
The years 2014 and 2015 were big for the Atlanta Hawks. Bruce Levenson hired respected general manager Danny Ferry and made Mike Budenholzer, the steady, knowledgeable long-time assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs, the new Hawks head coach. The results were dramatic. The Hawks improved from being a mediocre team to playing for the Eastern Conference championship.
When a number of people showed interest in purchasing the Hawks, Levenson and the Atlanta Spirit LLC sold the team for $850 million. That move by Levenson and the ownership group helped the team, the city, and themselves. Bruce Levenson had once again shown people his well-known business acumen.