Skip to main content

LeBron James to the Brooklyn Nets? A marketing bonanza, both ways

In an article Monday headlined Jay-Z, James relationship should worry Cavs, Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA columnist for Yahoo! Sports, suggests that the hip-hop star, a part owner of the New Jersey Nets, may be manuevering to lure the superstar LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers once he can opt out of his contract in the summer of 2010.

That would be the right before the fall when the Nets, as announced, intend to move to Brooklyn, thought construction schedules suggest an arena opening in early 2011 is a best-case scenario.

Wojnarowski noted that James wants to become "sport’s first billionaire athlete," hence the appeal of a larger platform. Says noted sports marketer Sonny Vaccaro, "Jay-Z is the one person that I can put in a parallel universe with LeBron from where they started and where they are now."

He suggests James will be on a "marketing roll" after he leads the United States basketball team to victory this year in the Olympics.

No tampering

Two years ago, Jay-Z, according to the writer, paid no mind to league tampering rules and gushed, “How amazing would that be? I tell people all the time, he’s my friend first. If Cleveland is building a championship team around him then my advice is to stay there. If it’s the Nets who are building a championship team that could be around him then my advice is to come to the Nets.”

There was no fine for tampering, and Cleveland didn't complain. And James, suggests Wojnarowski, may get his endorsement deals increased if he comes to New York.

Nets' flexibility

The front-office moves by the Nets are part of the peculiar NBA game called clearing salary cap space. Wojnarowski writes:
James is the unmistakable target. So much so, the Nets have an internal business plan for the move into the new Brooklyn arena that includes a modest section on his eventual recruitment, estimates of his marketing worth and the salary-cap space that needs to be cleared for his signing.

Wojnarowski suggests there will be "a fascinating story line" between now and 2010, with Jay-Z competing for James's heart and mind against the owners of the Cavaliers, who signed a hometown star to a huge first contract.

For the savvy owners of the Nets, playing a high-stakes game with flexibility, there could be a huge payoff.

The project could stall, with the arena delayed even past 2011. But if it proceeds, the Nets will try to get James. If so, even if the Nets alienate fans in New Jersey with a mediocre team for a couple of years, King James could change the equation across the river.

There's no great push for the Nets in Brooklyn right now, as Borough President Marty Markowitz recognized earlier this month. But good marketing can create momentum, and a star like James wouldn't be good marketing, it would be great marketing.

[Updated]

And the reality...

The Record's Ian O'Connor writes today:
Last night, in a 102-92 loss to the Magic, it took some straining to see past the empty banks of Izod Center seats and toward a meaningful future either here or in Brooklyn. Kidd breathed life into the building, and then slowly but surely sucked the life out.

As for the James deal, O'Connor suggests it's not impossible:
They want Jay-Z to help make that free agent signing happen.

"Pretty much a pipe dream," one high-ranking official called it.

It wasn't long ago that the same was said about Thorn's stated goal of building a winner in the Meadowlands. Then the Nets' president completed the Stephon Marbury-for-Kidd trade, and his team hasn't missed the playoffs since.

Comments

  1. I heard about this from a story over on Highbrid Nation and I honestly don't see Lebron leaving Cleveland. He seems like one of the few athletes around today with integrity and loyalty. I could be wrong though.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…