The story appears on

Page A12

September 25, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Basketball

Nets get Russian owner, eye move to Brooklyn

THE New Jersey Nets took big steps towards a relocation to Brooklyn and foreign ownership when they reached a deal worth more than US$200 million with Russia's richest man, Mikhail Prokhorov, on Wednesday.

A letter of intent has been signed which would give the Russian control of the National Basketball Association franchise as well as fund the development of Barclays Center, the proposed new home for the team in the New York borough.

"I have a long-standing passion for basketball and pursuing interests that forward the development of the sport in Russia," Prokhorov said in a statement. "I look forward to becoming a member of the NBA."

The deal, due to be completed by the first quarter of next year, would make Prokhorov the league's first owner outside North America, if he takes over from current owners Bruce Ratner and Forest City Enterprises.

It would also pave the way for the end of the Nets presence in New Jersey after over 30 years in the state, creating a second team in New York - home to the Knicks.

NBA rules require background checks on a new owner as well as approval by 75 percent of the 30 owners but the plan received approving words from NBA Commissioner David Stern.

"We are looking forward to the Nets' move to a state-of-the-art facility in Brooklyn, with its rich sporting heritage.

"Interest in basketball and the NBA is growing rapidly on a global basis and we are especially encouraged by Mr Prokhorov's commitment to the Nets and the opportunity it presents to continue the growth of basketball in Russia," he said in the joint statement.

The Nets franchise has been based in New York in the past. The team played as the New York Nets in the ABA league at different venues from 1968.

A year after the ABA-NBA merger, the franchise moved to New Jersey and took the current name.

Now the team, which has won four divisional titles in the NBA all between 2002 and 2006, is set for a transformation into a Brooklyn team owned by a Russian oligarch.

The 44-year-old Prokhorov is worth US$9.5 billion according to the May Russian edition of Forbes.

Under the agreement, Onexim, Prokhorov's investment group, will invest US$200 million and make certain contingent funding commitments to buy 45 percent of the arena project and 80 percent of the NBA team, the parties said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend