The Brooklyn Nets have a new owner and new CEO as Joe Tsai bought remaining 51 percent of ownership from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Alibaba co-founder spent nearly $3.5 billion to purchase the team and Barclays Center, while Tsai also announced that he hired former Turner Sports president David Levy as a new CEO.
Tsai had to wait for the NBA’s board of governors to approve the purchase, which was $2.35 billion for the Brooklyn Nets, and around $1 billion in a separate transaction for the arena. The Taiwanese businessman already had purchased 49 percent of the Nets from Prokhorov last year and had an option to become controlling owner in 2021. However, Tsai saw the potential of the Nets and decided to push the deal and take full ownership of the franchise.
“In addition to being a passionate basketball fan, Joe is one of China’s pre-eminent internet, media and e-commerce pioneers and his expertise will be invaluable in the league’s efforts to grow the game in China and other global markets,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
Tsai recognized the Nets as a growing team with a lot of potential, and he had special praise for general manager Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson.
“They established the culture, developed talent that others couldn’t see, and made Brooklyn the place where the best players want to play,” Tsai said.
I’m honored to come into full ownership of the Brooklyn Nets. Sean and Kenny have done an extraordinary job building the team. They established the culture, developed talent others couldn’t see, and made Brooklyn the place where the best players want to play.
— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) September 18, 2019
The Brooklyn Nets became the most expensive team in American sports after the $2.35 billion price surpassed the $2.2 billion that Tilman Fertitta paid for the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and that David Tepper spent for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
David Levy is appointed as a new CEO of the Nets and will also work as president of J Tsai Sports, the holding company that controls the WNBA’s New York Liberty, and also several more teams in the US and overseas.