With the signings of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan, the Brooklyn Nets have become one of the NBA’s most intriguing teams. In the Eastern Conference, they will not only get the chance to dominate their opponents but also the headlines, with two of the league’s most media-covered stars on their roster.
For team owner Joseph Tsai, this new era for the Nets has prompted him to lose his willingness to share. According to the New York Post, Tsai, (the co-founder of e-commerce company Alibaba) who already owned 49 percent of the franchise, will purchase the remaining 51 percent from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov for an NBA record total of $2.35 billion.
The $2.35 billion transaction would mark the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise — beating hedge fund owner David Tepper’s $2.2 billion acquisition last year of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, and Tilman Fertitta’s $2.2 billion purchase of the NBA’s Houston Rockets in 2017.
Tsai already owns 49 percent of the team, which he bought for $1 billion last year. At that time, the 55-year-old businessman locked in the right to buy the remaining 51 percent of the team before the 2021-2022 basketball season, for an additional $1.35 billion.
If Tsai signs off on the deal, he’ll be exercising his right to buy the remaining 51 percent of the team from Prokhorov two seasons early.
With a revamped roster and the current dismay of the Knicks, the Nets have increased exponentially in value over the last year, in particular. Following a postseason berth, they will be given the opportunity to make waves throughout the league and, subsequently, run New York.
No doubt, if all goes according to plan, Tsai will be making a good return on his investment as Brooklyn begins an era of dominance.