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Times profile of Brett and Michael Yormark: in response to "opponents of the arena," twins "sniff at their critics"

In an article headlined in print "Yormark Twins Put Their Marks on Nets and Panthers" and online as Twins that Look Alike, and Work Alike, the New York Times Sports section offers a predictable profile of uber-marketers Brett Yormark of the basketball Nets and Michael Yormark of the Florida Panthers hockey team.

(The article does come with an oddly dismaying photo of the twins at a Nets game, busy with their Blackberries, while Brett's children look off into the crowd.)

Here's the crux of the positive piece:
In parallel, they are trying to sell basketball and hockey in cities where their teams are overshadowed by more popular franchises and sports. They have weathered ownership changes, long playoff droughts and arena moves.

They have embraced their roles as underdogs, working long days, sometimes up to 18 hours, to promote most anything that keeps their teams in the news and generates income for their money-losing franchises.

Their almost pitbull-like drive and a willingness to sign almost any deal has prompted critics to describe them as the sports equivalent of used-car salesmen. But it has also brought accolades from clients of their teams, especially corporate sponsors.
The obligatory criticism

The article offers this attempt at balance:
Detractors, including executives at rival clubs, contend that the Yormarks chase too many small deals. One sports consultant said last year that the Nets devalued their brand by giving away reversible jerseys with a Nets player on one side and stars like Kobe Bryant on the other side. Michael takes heat from Canadians opposed to any hockey team in Florida, while Brett has been criticized by opponents of the arena the Nets are building in Brooklyn.

“We, who have observed him, have learned not to take him at his word,” said Daniel Goldstein, a co-founder of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn. “He, along with other people involved with the Nets and the Brooklyn arena, have moved the goal posts numerous times.”

The Yormarks sniff at their critics. “There are benefits of working in nontraditional environments,” Michael said. “I like to wake up in the morning and be ultracreative. It’s forced us to diversify.”
As portrayed, Goldstein and fellow Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn supporters are merely opponents of an arena. Actually, they've opposed the entire Atlantic Yards project, for reasons well beyond the arena.

Evaluating the claims

Meanwhile, reporter Ken Belson, practicing "he said, she said" journalism, doesn't try to evaluate what Goldstein said.

Yormark has moved the goalpoasts, as I described in a January 2009 post that weaved together several statements, embedded below.

A more skeptical approach to Yormark came in Star-Ledger columnist Dave D'Alessandro's 12/27/08 profile, which found that Yormark claimed never to have looked into P.T. Barnum and that Yormark claimed, incredibly, "I don't deceive."

(I was interviewed for that article; here's my analysis.)

In NetsDaily

In NetsDaily, the pseudonymous editor Net Income observes in a summary that the article includes "comment from Daniel Goldstein, the millionaire critic of the Nets' Brooklyn arena."

Mr. Income somehow didn't describe the Yormark twins as millionaires, though they certainly are.

Mr. Income, unwilling to use his name, was described in the Times Magazine as "a 65-year-old New York-based television producer anxious to keep his old- and new-media identities separate."

Translation: "does things in new media that violate the standards he's had to follow in old media."


  1. It's amazing that despite working (self-described) 18 hour days promoting the Nets, Brett Yormark still manages to find so much time to promote himself.

    How does he do it?


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