The Globetrotters' Deandre "Dragon" Taylor, right, and Jonathan "Hawk" Thomas show off some skills before an Atlanta appearance last spring.
Photo: Dave Tulis/For the AJC
Photo: Dave Tulis/For the AJC

Globetrotters move to bring 51 jobs to Gwinnett

After 20 years in Phoenix, the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team is on the move to metro Atlanta.

The Globetrotters announced on Tuesday that owner Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. plans to relocate the team’s corporate offices to Peachtree Corners, where HFE is located.

The move is expected to be finished by the summer of 2016 and will be done in phases during the team’s domestic tour from Dec. 26-May 1. The new Peachtree Corners office will employ 51 people in booking, public relations, marketing and sales, operations, merchandise and finance departments.

HFE bought the team two years ago from Shamrock Capital Advisors.

The team moved to Phoenix from Hollywood after being sold to former Globetrotter player Mannie Jackson, a college teammate of former Phoenix Suns CEO Jerry Colangelo.

Now, HFE is ready to move the team’s headquarters closer to its base in Georgia.

“We’re glad to know Herschend is thriving in Peachtree Corners,” Mayor Mike Mason said in the city’s statement. “The city is delighted to have the family entertainment business here.”

HFE bills itself as the largest family-owned attractions company in the nation. It operates Stone Mountain Park in a public/private partnership with the Stone Mountain Memorial Association. Other properties include Dollywood in Tennessee and Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. The company is involved in 26 properties in 10 states, according to HFE’s website.

“The Harlem Globetrotters can expect metro Atlanta to roll out the red, white and blue carpet to welcome them to their new home,” said Gov. Nathan Deal in the Globetrotters’ news release.

“It’s a perfect fit, because Georgia is the best place to do business, and TV ratings tell us we have a high concentration of die-hard basketball fans in the Atlanta market. The Globetrotters will add to the list of world-class brands that already call Georgia home. It’s a slam dunk for the Globetrotters and for Georgia.”

The basketball team was formed in Chicago in 1926 by a 24-year-old businessman, Abe Saperstein. First called the Savoy Big Five, the Globetrotters have entertained fans worldwide, playing for popes, kings and presidents along the way.

The team, famous for comedic and artistic ball handling, has played more than 20,000 games as it celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.

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