Once upon a time Brooklyn had the Brooklyn Dodgers. Now BK is about to get its own professional basketball team–thanks to Jay Z. The hip- hop entrepreneur, just announced that when the Nets move into their new Brooklyn home, Barclays Center, they will be called the Brooklyn Nets. The team is slated to leave New Jersey in 2012.
Jay-Z owns a share of the NBA franchise, and is one of the main forces behind the creation of Barclays Center, located in downtown Brooklyn. The Barclays Center will finally be complete for the fall basketball season, after overcoming several roadblocks such as financial restraints, community protests, and lawsuits. It is part of a proposed $4.9 billion sports arena, business and residential complex.
Partnered with Jay Z is Nets majority owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (third richest man from Russia, the 39th richest man in the world worth an estimated at $18 billion, and leader of Russian pro-business political party Right Cause), who also is half owner of the new Brooklyn center. Real estate mogul Bruce C. Ratner, the former majority owner (he still owns 20 percent of the team) is the arena’s developer.
According to Forbes, the relocation of the team and the center is a major revenue boost for NYC. Forbes estimates that the enterprise value for the team and arena comes to $365 million. And once the team starts playing at Barclays Center, Forbes expects to see sponsorship, premium seating and concession revenues of $75 million a year, $60 million more than what the team received in New Jersey last season.
Of course, the team project and renaming it will bring fame–and fortune to Brooklyn. “This is a perfect opportunity to recapture the wonderful legacy left by the Bums (Brooklyn Dodgers),” says sports history expert Larry Lester, author of The Negro Leagues Book and Baseball’s First Colored World Series. “Renaming the Nets offers Brooklynites a renewed identity in the sports world.”