Friday, March 06, 2009

The Nets-to-Newark scenario is bolstered by an interesting rumor

In a blog post headlined Brooklyn or bust, New York Daily News sports columnist Filip Bondy suggests that, if Atlantic Yards stalls more than two years, the losses suffered by the team, $30+ million a year, might force a sale.

Bondy writes that Nets executives assert that the only reason to play two preseason games in October at the Prudential Center in Newark is that "the Nets just couldn't sell preseason tickets at the Meadowlands."

Rumor of a sale

Here's the rumor:
A very specific report has been circulating around the team that Ray Chambers and Lewis Katz are preparing to invest $150 million with Ratner, as part of a contingency deal. If he can get the Brooklyn arena done in two years, fine. Otherwise, Chambers and Katz would purchase the team and move it to Newark.

I have to imagine that there's a little more wiggle room in that plan. It's unlikely that the Brooklyn arena would be completed in two years. The earlier arena design was supposed to take 32 months.

Even if the main remaining lawsuit (on eminent domain) is dismissed, as is likely, efforts will be made to file an appeal. Even if construction were to begin later this year, there's no guarantee that things would work smoothly.

Counting the cases

Bondy writes:
But again, the Nets strongly deny such an agreement. They continue to fight off a bunch of legal challenges to their Brooklyn project. "We've won 22 of 23 cases and we'll win the last one," Baum says.

He sounds certain. Two years from now, Baum will either look like a truthsaying visionary or a naive flack.


DDDB comments that there have only been seven cases. Forest City Ratner has never listed the cases (or decisions) in its list.

Roadblocks in Newark

The Record's John Brennan pointed out that a move to Newark wouldn't be simple:
Under the terms of the Devils’ lease, the National Hockey League team keeps nearly all of the revenue from all events held at the Prudential Center.

That raises questions about how much revenue a move to Newark would generate for the Nets. However, the value of luxury suites and corporate sponsorships would increase with a second major pro sports franchise.

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