Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Nets CEO Yormark predicts financing wrapped up in 45 days, arena in "11-12 season"

On Fox Business News today, Nets Sports and Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark answered questions from the unskeptical Alexis Glick.

While the segment was ostensibly about the Nets' pioneering effort to sell naming rights to practice jerseys, at about 3:00 Yormark predicted that the arena would open in the 2011-12 season.

Yormark has regularly shifted the goalposts; last December he insisted the arena would open in three years.

AG: Everybody wants to know the truth. Is the stadium being built in Brooklyn and, if so, when will it be built and when will the team actually move there?

BY: We're very excited about our move to Brooklyn. Obviously, there's been lots of delays. But this fall is the fall we've all been waiting for. We'll wrap up financing in the next 30 to 45 days. We will break ground in the next few months. We will get past the remaining litigation--there's one last piece out there. We expect to win that case, like we have the other 25 that have been brought against the project. This is the fall we've been waiting for. Barclays is on board, All of our eight other founding partners are on board. We relaunch our suite sales effort later this month. So we're excited about the future, and we'll be in Brooklyn for the 11-12 season.

There haven't been 25 lawsuits or even 25 court decisions. Glick didn't ask how long it would take to build the arena--at least two years, right?--and how that would impact a move across the river. But she did follow up.

AG: Do you feel firm ground here. you'll be in there in 2011-2012?

BY: Yes. I'm confident. Again, it's been a long haul. But everything's coming together. We've never been this close before. Bruce Ratner, Forest City, our investors have had a very, very busy summer, putting this thing together and getting it to the point where we can close it out. And I'm very excited for them.

Team for sale?

There have been many reports about the possible sale of the team, but Yormark spun it as expressions of investor interest.

AG: There's been a lot of speculation about perhaps a sale of the team or perhaps portions of the team being sold off... Where does that process stand?

BY: We get a lot of inquiries, especially now that we're moving to Brooklyn. They see the asset value of the Nets.... So, we're--we're not open for business and for sale, but obviously people are coming to us and they show some interest, we're going to explore that level of interest, and we're going to see if it's real or not.

The Glick connection

By the way, Glick's mother worked--or works?--for Forest City Ratner. Given that other TV hosts have been equally gentle to Yormark, it's doubtful that makes a difference.

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