Now that the ‘Cold War’ has ended , though there’s still said to be some distrust, disquiet , between the two former adversaries and by those who claim to be in the know. There’s an interesting anomaly that seems to be arising in the world of sports. In particular as with regards to the sports horizon in the United States and its landscape.
In Major League Baseball (MLB) there are two foreign owners of a major league franchise. In this case it is the Seattle Mariners . They’re owned by Nintendo of America Inc. who are part of the Japanese multi-national company, Nintendo Co,. Ltd . And there’s also the Toronto Blue Jays , owned by the wealthy but reclusive Rogers family. In the NHL , – well obviously there are the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs .
The NFL for all of its history and legacy does not possess a foreign owner , much less an ethnic minority owner in any of its 32 franchises. And this from a sport with burgeoning ambitions to become a global brand. It remains the one sport that despite its appearance would rather at ownership level remain and keep the status quo as it is. Essentially an ‘old boys network’ filled with a certain type of owner .
The NBA now but down to one foreign owned franchise, in the form of the Toronto Raptors . They’re now said to be on their way into possessing a second . It is widely being speculated upon that Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov will formally make a bid to buy in part , the New Jersey Nets. It is said to already have the blessing of NBA commissioner David Stern. Though the formal announcement has yet to be made as it await the NBA’s Board of Governors’ approval. It is not thought that there will be dissenting voice or vote in the process. And certainly with the most recent maneuver whereby the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ owner Dan Gilbert sold a minority stake in the franchise to a Chinese entrepreneur.
Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and AP
By Tom Canavan AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—The NBA has truly gone global.
Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov reached an agreement Wednesday to buy 80 percent of the financially strapped New Jersey Nets and nearly half of a project to build a new arena in Brooklyn.
The only thing that stands in the way is a nyet from the league’s board of governors, and that doesn’t seem likely with NBA commissioner David Stern already giving the deal his initial blessing.
The proposed blockbuster deal would give the Nets’ current principal owner, Bruce Ratner, the needed cash to move forward with the Barclays Center, the centerpiece of his Atlantic Yards development, which includes plans for retail and residential projects.
It would make Prokhorov, a billionaire and former amateur basketball player, the NBA’s first non-North American owner.
It would also mean the Nets really do seem headed to Brooklyn, a New York City borough without a major pro sports franchise since baseball’s Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1957.
“Interest in basketball and the NBA is growing rapidly on a global basis, and we are especially encouraged by Mr. Prokhorov’s commitment to the Nets and the opportunity it presents to continue the growth of basketball in Russia,” Stern said in a statement.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, too, is ready to welcome Prokhorov to the NBA.
In order to read Tom Canavan’s article in its entirety just click on the link provided.
The New Jersey Nets’ principal partner Bruce Ratner , whose paramount issue at present is the relocation of the franchise from New Jersey to New York City (Brooklyn). And it is felt with the cash infusion provided by Prokhorov. It would facilitate the finishing of the project known as the Atlantic Yards project. At the center of this all will be the Barclays Center , which will become the new home of the New Jersey Nets. The project itself is multi-billion dollar undertaking. And it envisaged as an area of residential as well as commercial properties with the Barclays Center as its center piece.
With this now comes the perception that this won’t be the last big undertaking by the Nets’ ownership. It is widely thought that with impending free agency of the Cavaliers’ Le Bron James at the end of the 2009-10 season . The New Jersey Nets will make a solid push to obtain the player. Certainly the Nets won’t be the only team looking to lure the player to ‘The Big Apple’, as it’s also thought that the New York Knicks will most certainly make the player a very lucrative offer. And it is thought the Cleveland Cavaliers will move heaven and earth to insure that James remains in Cleveland.
Rap star , music mogul and business entrepreneur Jay Z , who’s also a minority owner of the New Jersey Nets. Here he speaks with fellow rap star and record producer Jermaine Dupri and his ambitions to bring the Nets to Brooklyn. It’s also believed that he may well sway the decision that’s yet to be made by LeBron James and whether or not he’ll leave the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Certainly should this deal be approved by the NBA . Then it would most certainly change sporting landscape within the United States. The NFL in large part sees itself as a burgeoning brand on the international market. But essentially they’ve been somewhat haphazard in their marketing of their brand and product to the outside world. And while the game is growing in popularity across the globe. The resonance that it has sought , has yet to reach the levels attained by the NBA. This only adds to the dilemma that it now faces. And for the NBA , the acquiring of a foreign based owner in the guise of Mikhail Prokhorov will be seen as a boon for them and a ‘grand marketing idea’ that they can build around to further their already established brand on a global scale.
Well one can surmise to invest in an NFL franchise is a considerable one. Given the fact that the average price of an NFL franchise is slightly more than a $1 billion . And if you were of the opinion what it would indeed cost to be new starting franchise in the NFL. Well unless you can come up with rights’ fees and then have at least another $1 billion dollars in financing for a stadium and other ancillary costs . Then the NFL isn’t the business you really want to be getting into. And that’s even with the over inflated price tags of their franchises. The revenues garnered by way of the tv rights and marketing , may well make it on appearance a lucrative investment. But for every dollar invested what is the return on that particular investment ( roi ) ?
I for one think that with the impending addition of Prokhorov as an owner within the NBA. It can only be of benefit to the game , domestically as well as on the international front. It adds to the ambitions of the game’s hierarchy. And in essence it gives the impression that there’s also a favorable environment for an aspiring sports franchise owner to invest here in an identifiable product and brand. At present the same can’t necessarily said of the NFL. It’s still looking for its first ethnic minority owner , never-mind one from the international arena. And that’s something that the NFL hasn’t really pursued at any level , in reality. If they’re of the opinion that the ‘Rooney Rule’ fixes anything, then they’re sadly mistaken.
Roger Goodell, nor his predecessor, Paul Tagliabue , had gone far enough to ingratiate the thought of even having a minority owner of a franchise within the NFL. It has been something of an eye opener to many and nearly not enough for a number of people who’d obviously like to have seen a genuine effort from the NFL.