NBA / Jul 28, 2010 / 5:21 pm

By 2015, the Nets will be bigger than the Lakers (maybe)

Roc La Familia

Recently, New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a magazine interview that the Nets would be worth $1 billion by 2015. Two Dime writers argue whether Prokhorov is crazy or clairvoyant:

NETS PROFIT
I don’t think the Nets will be worth $1 billion in 2015 — that’s a huge stretch, considering the highest-valued NBA franchise (L.A. Lakers) are worth about $607 million — but I do believe the Nets will be the most valuable franchise in the League by that time. Here’s why:

1. Brooklyn
It’s a fact that big market teams are worth more than small market ones. The Nets are currently located in New Jersey, never known as an ideal market or place to be associated with (I say this as a Net fan and Jersey resident). Brooklyn, on the other hand, is the world’s most recognizable borough in the world’s biggest and most well-known city. The Nets’ mere presence in Brooklyn will increase their value by at least $100 million. They will market themselves as a Brooklyn team, a New York City team, a big-time team. That will show in their increased value. The Knicks are currently valued at $586 million despite having been awful for the past decade, and most of that can be attributed to NYC; the same effect will take place with the Nets.

2. Barclays Center
The Barclays Center is expected to be one of the top arenas in the NBA once it opens. It will most likely sell out every game and will be the first major sporting venue in Brooklyn since Ebbets Field. (Brooklyn has Keyspan Park, home to the Brooklyn Cyclones minor-league baseball team, but that isn’t “major.”) The arena will also immediately attract concerts, special events, and the New York Islanders hockey team is rumored to be interested in moving there. With Prokhorov owning 45 percent of the arena, there will be an incredible revenue stream coming in compared to the revenue available from the Izod Center. At the Izod, the arena was owned by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the Nets had a very poor lease. That won’t be the case with the Barclays Center, not to mention the 20-year, $400 million naming rights agreement with Barclays that will go into effect as soon the team moves there.

3. Mikhail Prokhorov
The most valuable and well-known franchises in the world all have great owners. Ultimately a team’s value is dictated by what the man at the top of the corporate pyramid does. The Cowboys have Jerry Jones, the Redskins have Daniel Snyder, and the Yankees had George Steinbrenner. The Nets now have Mikhail Prokhorov. Prokhorov has indicated he will do whatever it takes to win, and there is no reason to believe he won’t. He took over a failing mineral company (Norilsk Nickel) in Russia and turned it into the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium. He bought basketball team CSKA Moscow and turned it into not only a Russian powerhouse, but a Euroleague powerhouse as well. There is no reason to believe he won’t be able to turn the Nets into a profitable and successful team with his track record as an incredibly successful business man.

Also, Prokhorov has global connections and global appeal. In his short time as owner of the Nets he has hung out with President Obama and Michael Bloomberg, and has wowed the American media, which comes in addition to his global reputation. His presence and determination will take the Nets global (they are traveling to China for preseason games, and London for regular season games this year), and they will be widely recognized once their move to Brooklyn is complete.

Additionally, by 2015 the Nets will be a perennial playoff team. Prokhorov is a fierce competitor, and wants to win, and his desire to be on top of whatever he does means he will put the necessary resources into this team to make them as good as he expects. However, even if the Nets aren’t a playoff team look at the Redskins. As mentioned above, the Skins are one of the most valuable franchises despite being terrible as of late and a lot of that is due to their stadium and owner, which will be the Nets’ primary assets when it comes to valuing the franchise.

4. Jay-Z
Prokhorov has already become buddy-buddy with Jay-Z, one of the Nets’ part-owners. Jay-Z is from Brooklyn, and having a team in his backyard is something obviously appealing to him, as that is part of the reason he got involved with the Nets in the first place. If Jay-Z continues his increased involvement with the team, and really invests himself in this team that will also help their value. He is one of the most well-known and popular musicians in the entire world, and if he takes the Nets global with him and brings exposure to the team on his world tours, value increases.

5. Brett Yormark
Many of you reading this haven’t heard of Yormark, but he is one of the most imaginative marketing executives in all of sports. He is unafraid to try whatever he thinks might help the team sell tickets, and is a genius when it comes to selling and securing sponsorships. The Barclays Center naming rights deal mentioned above was orchestrated by Yormark, and with him now being able to market the team from Brooklyn, as opposed to East Rutherford, expect him to soak up any available advertising dollars that can come the Nets way, and brand them in a way that appeals to Prokhorov’s global dreams.
-Daniel Marks

Travis Outlaw (photo. Bethany Gilbert)

*** *** ***

NO, JERSEY
I’m going to be honest here. When I found out about Mikhail Prokhorov’s statements in the most recent issue of Forbes magazine (Russian edition) regarding his hopes for a $200 million purchase of the Nets potentially ballooning to $1 billion in only five years, I thought I was lost in the second layer of a Leonardo DiCaprio dream from Inception.

I’m sure the folks at Forbes did, too. After all, they’re the ones capable of providing the public with yearly franchise valuations, and if anyone knows the various thresholds for team worth, it’s Forbes. Rather than even bother addressing such a ludicrous $1 billion estimation, let’s focus on why the New Jersey Nets … err … Brooklyn Knights … err whatever name this franchise decides upon won’t be the most valuable team in the NBA come 2015.

Quick, when you think of baseball, which team comes to mind? The New York Yankees, right? The answer to the football version of that question is more than likely the Dallas Cowboys. What about for basketball? Maybe the Los Angeles Lakers. Maybe the Boston Celtics. Maybe even the Duke Blue Devils. But certainly NOT the New Jersey Nets.

That’s the problem with this whole concept. Open a brand new arena in a brand new location, where the town is basketball-crazed and dying for a franchise of their own to support. Surround the new complex with new buildings and a shopping area, then inject a bustling nightlife scene, all within walking distance from this gorgeous new facility. Rebrand the team and start fresh, with all the support in the world from one of five boroughs and the entire state of New Jersey. Sounds like a fail-proof plan if you’re aiming your franchise for the upper echelon of the NBA, right?

Only one problem remains: the Nets are still the Nets. And that’s one thing that’s NOT going to change by 2015.

There are many reason the Yankees, Cowboys and the Lakers are the most global of American sports franchises, but let’s focus on perhaps the most important two: history and star-power.

The Nets have never won a championship, let alone 16 like the Lakers. The team doesn’t have a Top-25 player in the NBA, let alone maybe the best ever. Need more? Last year, the Nets won 12 games total, losing the Eastern Conference race by almost 50 games. They were out of the running before the season even started, forced to watch the playoffs from home. And what did they see? A rugged Lakers capture their second straight title by defeating their archenemy in a grueling seven-game set, adding another chapter to arguably the most historic and incredible rivalry in sports history. Uh, do the Nets even have a rival? Did they add anyone of considerable value to drastically change anyone’s expectations heading into the season?

The answer to both questions is a resounding no. But in less than five years’ time, this team is going to be the most valuable team in the NBA, worth more than the Los Angeles Lakers? To quote Mugatu from Zoolander: “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

So there’s a snazzy arena opening in Brooklyn. And the owner of the team is now a Russion bazillionaire, who is intent on expanding the team’s brand into foreign waters. Are people in Russia expected to root for the Nets because the owner happens to be Russian? There needs to be talent on the court, a superstar to latch onto, a jersey to buy. After the most hyped free agency period in NBA history, it’s doubtful that Travis Outlaw (the Nets’ most notable offseason acquisition) jerseys from the NBA Store are on backorder by the time his five-year deal runs out in 2015. So for the time being, the team and its fans must be banking on a superstar wanting to hop on board this ship, take it by the helm and guide it to who-knows-where as captain with a questionable crew.

You say the Nets will be the most valuable franchise in the NBA by 2015. I say you need to take a page out of DiCaprio’s book, and make sure you’re not still dreaming.
-Camron Ghorbi

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  • That’s What’s Up

    I Favors rises, and Kobe demises….it’s still a stretch

  • Stunnaboy09

    Um, unless Favors turns into David Robinson and T-Will morphs into LeBron that shit aint happening for one word, talent. NY has all those things you listed and better(Location, Arena, Market) and they still aint worth shit. Why? Talent. If NJ can crap out a championship and some 60 win seasons.

  • Steve Nash

    FA’s and a good Draft puts the Nets in the mix… once Kidd came over to NJ they won close to 30 more games… and when if they do become good and hopefully NYK’s also become top players in the east… then having the Knicks as a rival is great… look what it did for Michael Jordan / Reggie Miller / Alonzo Mourning

  • C money

    All you kids/people fail to recognize and realize this is by 2015. A lot can happen in 5 years. New talent/players/kids, free agency and trades. I mean the allure of BK to players will be tremendous. So its very possible that this comes to fruition. Look at Seattle!!? Moved to OKC and now look at the team!! And thats OKC! Granted they have Durant and Westbrook and Green but….. But look at the direction the team is headed. This is possible

  • Bobbo

    Barclays Center is going to be the Mia expensive arena in the world…at $1 billion. Prokhorov owns 45 per cent of it and. could under easily achieved conditions own 80%. That’s $800 million.

    Camron didn’t major in economics.

  • Mike Mihalow

    How rich is this Russian dude, anyways? Could he outspend Chris Kaman’s 4th of July fireworks show?

  • LMNOP

    Brooklyn isn’t as much of a market upgrade over New Jersey as people think. It will be hard for them to win over Knicks fans. Someone who grew up going to games even tho they knew their team sucked isnt going to switch just because the nets decided to flip to the other side. their still just gonna be the nets. and 90% of people who visit new york never go north of 96th and only cross the river to get to the airport so they wont get all the out of town fans either.
    they will sell more jerseys tho, cos its cooler to wear “BROOKLYN” than “NEW JERSEY” but thats about it.

  • jzsmoove

    teams dont generally pan out the best ever team in about 5 yrs span, its ridiculous to think the Nets will.

  • westside certified

    Isn’t Manhattan the worlds most recognizable borough? Nets will never be bigger than the Knicks, let alone the Lakers.

  • http://thesphericalstudies.blogspot.com Professor J

    In such a long and detailed article I hate to nitpick on one thing but NYC is not the biggest city in the world, in terms of population or area no matter how many New Yorkers think it so : P but that being said I do think the nets have a chance to become extremely valuable but only if they win. If they want to get into the Yankees or lakers territory you need stars, location, fanbase and championships (not to mention good ownership). The nets have two of the five right now. Time will tell if they can succeed in the others. Regardless, prokhorov is my new favorite owner in the NBA. How can you not like him?

  • H-Man

    I hope and pray that D Marks is correct but it’s also possible that he has drunk too much of the Proky kool-aid (or is it vodka?).

  • Aussiedestroya

    If the owners are prepared to invest heavily into the franchise, rid all debt and the economy booms perhaps 2020 is a realistic goal to hit 1B. This is working on an assumption of 10% growth per annum (which would still be an incredible feat by anyones measures).

  • http://dimemag.com/ Camron Ghorbi

    @Bobbo

    A stadium or arena construction cost does not indicate its exact worth in a team valuation. The New York Yankees were just valued at $1.6 billion by Forbes at the start of the season. The new Yankee Stadium cost $1.5 billion to build. They were valued at roughly $1.4 billion the season before the new stadium even opened.

  • Daniel Marks

    @jzsmoove

    I’m not arguing for the Nets to be the best team in 2015, but that they will be the highest valued. They have all the pieces in place other than a championship roster for that to happen.

  • KnicksFan

    As a die-hard Knick and being born and raised in Brooklyn, its going to be interesting. Is it possible to root for 2 teams in the same division? That are rivals? I will never ever abandon the Knicks but will I support Brooklyn Nets/Knights whatever? I just might have to. Im so pro Brooklyn. At first I didn’t even want the team to come to Bk. It will change Brooklyn so much. Traffic, Uppity folk moving in our homes. Just look at how the team forced out so many people with the new stadium.WHatever We will just see what happens

  • tja

    ny biggest city in the world? didnt knw that

  • http://minusthebars.blogspot.com don

    Whatever Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay Z are smoking, it’s illegal.

  • dagwaller

    Which team will be more likely to win a ‘chip first: the Cavaliers or the Nets?

    The fact that I just asked a valid question is all you need to know about the Nets chances of being bigger than the Lakers, Celtics, Heat, or the Mavericks.

    They should work on more realistic goals, like being bigger than the Mets, the Islanders, or other New York teams. THEN focus on world domination.

  • KWAME

    its funny cuz New york isnt the world’s biggest city