After Nets minority proprietor Joe Tsai purchased the Liberty, he instructed The Submit his principal job as proprietor shall be discovering a strategy to put individuals within the seats. Which will imply discovering a brand new residence for his staff. Or two.
A fantastic displaying on the gate at Sunday’s one-off recreation at Barclays Heart confirmed why shifting to Brooklyn is on the prime of Tsai’s want listing. And sources instructed The Submit there are even discussions of getting the Liberty probably cut up video games between Barclays Heart and Nassau Coliseum.
“That’s a chance. Like an Islanders deal,” mentioned a supply.
The Liberty drew 7,715 for Sunday’s loss to Seattle, 4 occasions what they’ve been averaging since shifting to tiny Westchester County Heart final season. That they had 4,155 followers for an exhibition recreation in opposition to China at Barclays Heart in Might, and much surpassed that with this WNBA recreation.
A supply instructed The Submit there have been only a few complimentary tickets in Sunday’s crowd, an auspicious signal. Nevertheless, the priority is whether or not that crowd is sustainable sufficient to make the larger constructing viable. With the WNBA’s wheelhouse being household leisure — and Lengthy Island offering that base — a Barclays and Coliseum combo is being mentioned.
“We have to discover a resolution with regards to taking part in venue, a spot the place the followers can get enthusiastic about,” Tsai had instructed The Submit. “Proper now the Westchester venue has a restrict of one thing like 3,000 seats. It’s tiny, it’s onerous to get to. If you happen to stay in New York Metropolis, it’s type of tough to get to White Plains. That’s the primary order of enterprise. As an proprietor I see that as my most necessary duty, the right way to deliver extra followers into the sector to observe the staff.”
Or deliver the staff to an area followers will go to. Tsai’s buy of 49 % of the Nets from Mikhail Prokhorov didn’t embody Barclays Heart; however now sources instructed The Submit he’s near a deal to purchase the sector. That will additionally pave the best way for him to speed up his takeover of the remaining 51 % of the Nets as nicely, which wasn’t initially anticipated till January 2021.
“I don’t personal this constructing,” Tsai mentioned in Might. “So nonetheless issues should be labored out. In fact I’m going to think about Barclays Heart as one of many choices, however no guarantees at this level. The Coliseum is much. I’d say we’re making an attempt to discover all choices. Proper now the present scenario shouldn’t be perfect. Barclays Heart can be nice.”
The Liberty completed within the prime 4 in WNBA attendance in all 18 seasons on the Backyard, averaging 9,888 in 2017 earlier than then-owner Jim Dolan moved the staff to Westchester. However it has by no means been higher than seventh in attendance in 4 full seasons outdoors of the town.
The Liberty have been simply 12th final season at 2,823, and drew simply 1,886 in 15 dates at Westchester. Their plummet was so precipitous it truly accounted for about half of the WNBA’s drop to a record-low 6,721 followers per recreation throughout the league.
With talks on a brand new collective bargaining settlement looming, involved homeowners will certainly preserve an in depth eye on the place the Liberty finally ends up taking part in.
Michael Zavodsky, the chief income officer of Nets guardian firm BSE International, is leaving to develop into the president of gross sales for Roc Nation, which simply agreed to a long-term partnership with the NFL.