Tag Archive: nj nets

Regarding NJ Nets, Christie Should Build, Not Belittle

When Christie says “good riddance” to the NJ Nets he is acting in a typically petty and petulant matter. He sounds like a nasty, spoiled child when he adds, “If you don’t want to stay, we don’t want you.”

The decision to move the Nets to Brooklyn goes back to 2004 when Bruce Ratner purchased the franchise to add value to his Ratner City development project there. The plan gained further steam when  Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov bought a majority interest in the Nets and also agreed to help fund construction of the Brooklyn arena.The history of sports franchises is that they sadly but often move on to greener fields.

Christie lived in Newark as a child and says he cares about the city. He should be using his mouth and his mind to help build a new pro basketball team in Newark. Prudential Center is a great facility in a city with excellent transportation and plenty of basketball fans. Particularly, as the economy improves, there should be opportunities for investors who care about Newark, basketball, and money to create a new team. Investors already have an existing arena and there are local cable sports networks that would be happy to pay new owners to broadcast the games.

We know Christie can be vindictive and nasty, but what happened is not his fault nor that of New Jerseyans. It’s time for him to move on and use his leadership to facilitate the development of a new team. He has to show he has the skills to build not just to belittle.    

 

NJ Nets & NBA: Dysfunction and Excess Among the 1%

Not a pretty picture: Millionaire players and mega millionaire owners duke it out over money while the rest of us who enjoy professional basketball are relegated to dark screens and closed arenas. What with the high ticket costs and concession prices, attending this sport, as with football and hockey, is becoming increasingly an event for the wealthy.  Exhibition games were supposed to have begun this month, but as of now the season has been cancelled through the end of november.

Wealthy players and owners are arguing over how to divide up the revenue and whether to lower salary caps.  In fact the sport has become more about money than the game, driving away fans of modest means, particular in low income cities like Newark where people love basketball but watch it on TV if they can afford their cable bills.

The solution is to reduce player salaries and owner profits so that tickets become more affordable. What a novel idea!  So great an idea that undoubtedly the 1% nationally will reduce their own exorbitant salaries and excessive profits.  A  nice thought for a snowy Saturday when electric power just went off.  

Sports & Entertainment: 3 Ill-Conceived Ventures

Three Bad Ideas: 1) The notion that the State of New Jersey could do a good job running Sports & Entertainment venues; 2. that Xanadu would become a great success; and 3) that the NJ Nets Basketball team could be successfully moved to Brooklyn.

First lets address one delusion of Governor Christie, as reported in today’s Record. Regarding any deal between the Nets and the Devils under which the the basketball team would move to Newark, Governor Christie said,”Nothing comes to my desk unless I want it to come to my desk.”  Dear Mr. Governor, you are the governor, and like it or not you can’t always control what lands on your desk.  Check with your predecessors.

The State’s ownership and management of Sports & Entertainment venues historically has been rife with over-bloated salaries, perks for politicians, waste, and fraud.  The result: a run on the State treasury. The state should sell off its assets, get out of this business, and turn it over to private enterprise.

Only other delusional people could have believed in the success of Xanadu.  Beyond being the turnpike’s great eyesore, it had little to offer.  Yes, an indoor ski slope was an innovative idea, but most of the other projects – restaurants, shops, a movie theater –  are already available in many  malls without having to face the potential Meadowlands traffic congestion, turnpike toll fees, Xanadu parking fees, and long walks within the huge facility.  As a nearby resident I saw little in Xanadu that I could not find  find a few miles from where I live (or probably from where you live) – and without the headaches. (Naturally sunday football rituals at the stadium are not materially affected.)

The state could wait several years until the economy improves substantially and perhaps negotiate a strong financial deal for the Xanadu property, but in the meantime the existing structures would deteriorate while the state treasury struggles.  According to the Record,  real estate executive Steve Ross is in serious talks to take over Xanadu.  Such a deal, negotiated wisely by the state, could be a win-win.  The state would get revenue from the sale, and with some fresh rethinking from new ownership, Xanadu might yet become a success.

As a longtime NJ Nets fan, the plan of its real estate owner to move the team to Brooklyn has been so far an equally ill-conceived venture – fraught with delays, uncertainty and the Perils of Pauline. The results: the owner has starved the team of money and talent, reduced the fan base,  entered into a convoluted ownership arrangement with a wealthy Russian sports team owner whose plans are unclear, and as a final insult removed “NJ”, leaving only “NETS”, as the name for this team whose roots are long entwined in the history of NJ sports.

NJ fans want a NJ basketball team.  It belongs in Newark’s Prudential Center.  The IZOD Arena is an aging venue that inside resembles a larger version of your high school basketball arena, full of concrete blocks, few amenities, and ugliness.  It did serve a purpose and offered value to sports fans, but it no longer meets the needs of  a modern sports arena.  It would cost a huge sum to renovate – funds for which the State is in no position to borrow money.

If a private buyer for the IZOD Arena could be found, that would be great. Let the buyer refurbish it.  However, without at least one major sports team in the arena it probably is not financially viable. Prolonging its life as a state entity will only result in  ongoing deficits and in reduced income for both Prudential Center and IZOD Arena as they compete for entertainment attractions.

Our state has more pressing problems now.  It should get out of the S&E business, make as good a deal as it can over the Xanadu property, shed itself of the IZOD Arena, and encourage the NJ Nets to move to Newark.   The Governor, wearing his hat as S&E Czar, has tough decisions to make. They will land on his desk whether he wants them to or not.  But heck, isn’t that his job?

NJ Nets seek GILF’s…

…for their unique new cheerleading squad. 

From the NBA’s website:

The Nets held open auditions for their first-ever senior dance team yesterday.

The Nets senior dance team will be comprised of men and women who are at least 60 years of age. The senior dancers will perform during at least six games this season and will have their ages on the backs of their uniforms.

Hopefully the shorty shorty won’t be too terribly bootyliscious.

Said  Petra Pope, the Nets Senior Director of Entertainment and Event Marketing, “We are looking for seniors who can demonstrate some dancing ability and coordination and be able to learn and perform various routines.  The dancers will have a lot of fun and will surely receive overwhelming support by our crowds.”

Vincent Curatola, AKA “Johnny Sack” of Sopranos fame was one of the audition judges.

The Nets are also looking for hoops fans to help name the new oldie-squad and are taking suggestions for a new moniker at ppope@njnets.com.  The prize? Nets tix, of course.