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Thu Oct 12, 2017, 09:51 AM

Pro sports teams were once reliable patrons of Trump's hotels. Not anymore.

Pro sports teams were once reliable patrons of Trump’s hotels. Not anymore.

By Tim Bontemps and David A. Fahrenthold October 12 at 5:30 AM

Until recently, the Trump SoHo hotel served as a kind of luxe clubhouse for NBA teams visiting New York. ... At least 12 teams — more than a third of the league — had stayed there since it opened in 2010. The players loved it so much they became walking ads for the Trump brand: Superstar Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder praised the hotel in the press. Toronto Raptors all-star Kyle Lowry gave interviews on the lobby’s couch. Then-Thunder forward Steve Novak tweeted about the $20 room-service lattes.

Now, it’s not the same. ... All but one of the 12 teams said they have stopped patronizing the Trump SoHo since Donald Trump launched his presidential bid in 2015, according to team officials. Among the latest to depart were the Raptors, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards, who all dropped Trump SoHo this summer and made different arrangements for the upcoming season. ... Another NBA team quit staying at Trump’s hotel in downtown Chicago. And at least three National Hockey League teams and one Major League Baseball club have stopped frequenting Trump hotels in the same time, according to interviews with team officials.

Before Trump turned professional athletes into his political targets in recent weeks — jousting on Twitter with the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and blasting football players for kneeling during the national anthem — he had been privately losing their teams’ business. The trend has sapped his hotels of revenue and big-league buzz, a survey of teams by The Washington Post found.

In all, The Post found that 17 teams from across the four major sports had stayed at Trump properties in recent years. Now, at least 16 are no longer customers.
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Tim Bontemps is The Post's national NBA writer. He hosts the podcast Posting Up and writes the newsletter Monday Morning Post Up. Follow @TimBontemps

David A. Fahrenthold is a reporter covering the Trump family and their business interests. He has been at the Post since 2000, and previously covered Congress, the federal bureaucracy, the environment, and the D.C. police. Follow @Fahrenthold

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