Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Yormark: Nets' move delayed by "some nuances in Brooklyn"; team hopes to return to China (EB-5?)

NetsDaily points to an interview in China with Nets/Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. I'll just point to a couple of things.

"The move [to Brooklyn] was somewhat delayed," Yormark says at about 3:28, "because of the economy and some nuances in Brooklyn." Yeah, right.



Though Yormark does say, of the 2015-16 season, "It candidly was a disappointing season," at about 4:15 he salutes Brooklyn as a "basketball market," and adds, "because we had six years to start seeding the brand, there was incredible anticipation for the arrival of the Brooklyn Nets, and we've been feeding off it ever since."

Except for last year, when gate count fell well under 12,000.

Now, the Nets have "ten-plus new players," he says, which is another reminder that fans are rooting for the clothes.

Return to China?

He talks about using Jeremy Lin to connect with a new fan base--they're branding "BrooklLin," as noted by Nets Daily--and leaves a hint.

At about 12:04, he says, "Hopefully, we'll return here in the fall of 2017 with the NBA to play here in China. Hopefully, we'll continue to fuel the excitement for our team here in China and be considered maybe behind Houston as the second home team of the fans here in China."

If the Nets return, would that be coupled with another effort to recruit immigrant investors to provide cheap financing in exchange for green cards under the sketchy EB-5 program?

After all, original developer (and owner of the arena operating company) Forest City Ratner went to China three times, the latter two in partnership with the Greenland Group, its new joint venture partner/overseer, each time coupled with Nets visits.

My first thought was no. After all, Forest City and Greenland are no longer connected to the arena, so the owner of the team and the arena operating company, Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim, wouldn't have that connection to the Chinese market.

But Atlantic Yards is a "never say never" project." I wouldn't be surprised if they found a way to make that connection. After all, Prokhorov just refinanced the Barclays Center debt to save money

Why wouldn't he want to save money--or split a project with Greenland Forest City Partners to save money jointly?

Basketball is huge in China. It can obscure many ambiguities.

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