New York City is known as a melting pot. So it’s not surprising that the Brooklyn Nets have an international flavor and appeal.
No NBA team has played more games abroad over the past several seasons than the Brooklyn Nets. Head coach Kenny Atkinson and his young team arrived in Mexico Wednesday morning and will be spending the next four days there, playing two games in the process. Their first game is Thursday night against the struggling Oklahoma City Thunder. While they’re not favored to win the game, they can pull off the upset. The second game will take place Saturday against the mediocre Miami Heat.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is a huge supporter of NBA internationalization, and he applauds the Nets for always taking the opportunity to play games abroad, as he recently explained to Brian Lewis of the New York Post:
“The Nets are usually the first to raise their hands to go internationally. They’re usually very eager. The process is the teams rotate traveling internationally. But in the first instance, we look for teams interested in making the trip, and all three wanted to play in Mexico City, the Nets in particular. They’ve been to China with us, they’ve been to London, and now Mexico City. I credit team president Brett Yormark, who seems particularly interested in extending the Brooklyn Nets brand globally.”
The Nets are one of the few teams to be run by international owners. Since taking control of the team in 2010, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has sent the Nets all over the globe. In 2011, Brooklyn played the first-ever NBA game in England at the famous O2 Arena in London. In 2014, Prokhorov arranged for the Nets to go on a preseason tour abroad, which included popular games in Shanghai and Beijing, China. The Nets also hosted a practice in his native Moscow.
The team made international headlines once again in late October by making an ownership change. Joseph Tsai, the co-founder and executive vice chairman of the Alibaba Group (China’s equivalent of Amazon) has agreed to become the team’s new owner. The deal was set at Brooklyn’s current value, which is $2.3 billion for 49 percent ownership of the franchise. The deal includes an option for Tsai to acquire a full controlling interest in four years, but Prokhorov will retain majority control until then.
Tsai is a huge fan of NBA Globalization, and he offers many opportunities for the Nets when it comes to International marketing and e-commerce to his native continent of Asia. With the help of Jeremy Lin, a Taiwan native, the Nets are growing a huge audience of viewers and fans in Asia.
The Nets are making their presence known across the world. By being the NBA’s most internationally involved team, Brooklyn is not only growing their audience and fan base but are raising the bar for other NBA teams to follow in its footsteps.