Wednesday, December 16, 2009

As interim move to Newark falls apart (for now), Prokhorov agreement to buy Nets moves ahead

From the AP:
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov moved a step closer to becoming the NBA's first non-North American owner on Wednesday. Prokhorov's Onexim Sports and Entertainment Holdings and the company that owns the Nets announced they completed their agreement to create a partnership that would own the NBA team and develop the Atlantic Yards project in New York City.
Approval by the NBA is still in the offing, but is not expected to hit major roadblocks.

(DDDB reminds us that Russia's richest man is the major beneficiary of major government support; surely, as I and others have suggested, it would have been much harder to get political support for Atlantic Yards had Prokhorov been involved from the start.)

Newark deal falls apart?

Meanwhile, a Star-Ledger article, Deal to move NJ Nets from Meadowlands to Newark's Prudential Center falls apart, explains how the possible interim move of the Nets to The Rock has stalled under the outgoing Jon Corzine administration and must be restarted by the incoming Chris Christie administration.

The newspaper reported:
Under a proposal that has been on the table since just before the gubernatorial election, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the New Jersey Devils were to enter into a joint venture partnership aimed at ending the ongoing battle of the arenas they operate -- the Izod Center in the Meadowlands and the Prudential Center in Newark. Through the partnership, called Jersey Presents, both sides were looking to work together to book and operate events, sharing the revenues.
That would have involved a surcharge of up to $3 for Izod and Prudential Center events and would have let the Nets avoid the a $7.5 million penalty for moving from the Izod Center to Newark.

Not so fast

However, as the newspaper reported, the Nets are still interested in Newark.

That means they--via expected new majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov--could even pay the penalty.

Or, more likely, restart the discussions. Remember, there was once talk of preseason games in Newark, and then Nets brass said no. But after further talks, the Nets wound up playing two preseason games in the Prudential Center.

It's all negotiable.

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