NBA Owners Approve Full Sale Of Nets To Joseph Tsai

Also, Brooklyn Names Turner Broadcasting President As CEO

Ryan Chatelain
September 18, 2019 - 12:20 pm
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The Brooklyn Nets are officially in new hands.

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The NBA Board of Governors on Wednesday unanimously approved the sale of a 51% stake of the Nets to Joseph Tsai. Having already owned 49% of the team, the sale makes the tech billionarie the franchise's sole owner.

Mikhail Prokhorov, the Nets' majority owner since 2010, agreed last month to sell his controlling share to Tsai, who became a minority owner in 2018. In all, Tsai, 55, reportedly doled out $2.35 billion for the Nets, making it the most money ever paid for a sports team, surpassing the $2.2 billion spent for the Carolina Panthers last year and the Houston Rockets in 2017.

In a separate transaction, Tsai also acquired Barclays Center, the Nets' home arena.

Joseph Tsai with his wife, Clara Wu Tsai
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Lincoln Center

"With full ownership of the Nets and Barclays Center, we will continue to bring our exciting brand of basketball to our fans," said Tsai, who co-founded the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and also owns the WNBA's New York Liberty. "We’ve made a strong commitment to Brooklyn, and it will be a privilege to present the best of Barclays Center with its great entertainment to our community."

The Nets also announced Wednesday that David Levy, currently Turner Broadcasting's president, will take over as CEO of the Nets and Barclays Center, replacing Brett Yormark, who stepped down in August. Levy will oversee all business, revenue, strategy and operations for the franchise and arena.

In February, Forbes ranked the Nets as the sixth most valuable team in the NBA at $2.4 billion -- and that was before they became the talk of the NBA this summer by signing prized free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

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Last season under general manager Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson, the team went 42-40 and reached the playoffs for the first time in four years.

"Sean and Kenny have done an extraordinary job building the team," Tsai said. "They established the culture, developed talent that others couldn’t see, and made Brooklyn the place where the best players want to play.

"We have an incredible group of players who want to win, and because of their talent and hard work, we are now in a great position to compete. I am thrilled to be partners with winners!"