Brooklyn Boro

Prokhorov all in for Brooklyn, for now

Billionaire Nets Owner Expected to Control 100 Percent of Team, Arena

December 3, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, reported to be nearing a deal that would give him 100 percent ownership of both the NBA franchise and Downtown’s Barclays Center, should be inundated with questions this coming week when he comes to Brooklyn. AP Photo

“All in for BKLYN” has been one of the New York Islanders’ campaign slogans during this historic inaugural campaign in our fair borough.

It can also be used to describe billionaire Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s apparent interest in controlling 100 percent of the Brooklyn franchise, as well as Downtown’s Barclays Center.

According to a report from Bloomberg News Wednesday, Prokhorov, who currently owns 80 percent of the Nets and 45 percent of the state-of-the-art arena on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, is nearing completion of a deal with Nets minority owner Bruce Ratner and his Forest City development group.  

Neither Prokhorov, who will be in Brooklyn this coming week for a few Nets games, Ratner, nor the NBA itself has commented on the report, which would give the 50-year-old leader of the ONEXIM Group a $2 billion entity, as most recently estimated by valuations expert Peter Schwartz, to do with as he wishes.

Of course, it was Ratner, one of Downtown’s most prominent real estate developers, who spearheaded the franchise’s relocation here from New Jersey, beginning with his ownership group’s purchase of the franchise from Yankee Global Enterprises for $300 million more than a decade ago.

Prokhorov took over the reins of the franchise in May 2011, and was at the helm when the Nets finally moved into Barclays Center for the 2012-13 campaign.

Though the Nets have had success on the court, reaching the playoffs in each of their first three seasons here while averaging just north of 17,000 fans per night, they have failed to live up to Prokhorov’s well-chronicled “championship within five years” mandate.

Off to a 5-13 start to this season, the Nets are in danger of missing the postseason for the first time during their tenure here, and are drawing far fewer fans — 14,393 per contest as of Thursday — to Barclays.

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That leads Brooklynites to wonder if Prokhorov is buying out Ratner to unload the franchise and arena at the highest valuation possible, or if he really is “All in for BKLYN.”

Stay tuned.

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