We no longer have to refer to New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai as the “minority-soon-to-be” majorty owner of the Brooklyn Nets – he’s now the current owner.
And he threw in the Nets’ home arena, Barclays Center, to boot.
It was announced that Joe Tsai, roughly a few months after purchasing the Liberty from James Dolan and Madison Square Garden, closed on a deal to buy the remaining 51 percent of the NBA franchise that previously was not under his management.
The price tag for the Nets purchase was a cool $2.35 billion (affordable, we guess, in either Alibaba or New York dollars). Along with that, Tsai also bought out Barclays Center for almost $1 billion in a separate transaction.
The deal should be completed by the end of September with the main remaining hurdle being approval by the NBA’s Board of Governors. With that same board being the one that gave the thumbs up to Tsai’s Liberty buy, it’s virtually a matter of when and not if the deal goes through.
With Barclays soon to be under Tsai’s management, many Libs fans are hoping the deal means the team will soon move to the Brooklyn-based venue. New York had its Unity Day Game against the Seattle Storm on Aug. 11 at Barclays Center and drew nearly 8,000 fans to Atlantic and Flatbush, proving the Liberty are still a draw in New York City, where the bulk of its fanbase resides.
There have been subtle hints since the Tsai buy that Brooklyn will, indeed, be the future home of Gotham’s W franchise – including its new practice facility being in Brooklyn, Libs players residing in Brooklyn during the season and Brooklyn being the site of its Unity panel. Tsai has mentioned in interviews that a goal for his ownership would be to grow the team’s fanbase, which would be an easier task in the city than in Westchester County.
There has even been speculation of the Nassau Coliseum, the home of the Long Island Nets G-League team, being a site for future Liberty contests but that venue is roughly an hour – the same distance as the County Center – from Barclays.
Nontheless, the deal further establishes Tsai as a force to be reckoned with in New York sports. With the Liberty, Nets, Long Island Nets, Nets Gaming and Barclays, James Dolan, the Wilpons and the Steinbrenners have some competition.