View Full Version : Nets' PR games with Newark

01-18-2009, 10:51 AM
Not sure why its so dead in here, but these stories happened last week, affect Newark and New Jersey sports at large and haven't been posted here and no one's commented on them:

It starts off with the breaking news of the Nets entertaining thoughts of playing some preseason games in Newark:

Then the Nets seem to suddenly realize what the implications of such a move could be (that people would take it as yet another sign that the Atlantic Yards is dead) and drop the negotiations like a log:

Finally Vanderbeek goes on the record showing the Nets for what they were really trying to do: set up a deal with provisions that would be impossible for the Rock to meet and then use that failure as a response every time the Atlantic Yards has another setback and Newark gets brought up:

01-18-2009, 01:20 PM
I know alot of people who feel the same way I do, and that is we believe if the Nets really want to move it will end up being to Newark. I also believe the Nets owner was recently turned down in his bid to get $800 million in bonds for the project. With all the people still fighting ratner in court over this and the economy in the shape it's in I think it's just a matter of time before the team is sold and the new buyers move it to Newark were it belongs instead of in the a middle of a swamp. Thank GOD the Devils have their own arena now and don't have to put up with the JERKS who run the meadowlands!

01-18-2009, 06:14 PM
Not sure why its so dead in here, but these stories happened last week, affect Newark and New Jersey sports at large and haven't been posted here and no one's commented on them

It has been dead here and it's been a bit disheartening to see how dead it is. I haven't had time to be on much because I'm trying to get new functionality up on the main site for the upcoming tourism season. We have our first e-newsletter scheduled to go out on January 25th.

I will post about your comments regarding the Nets. I agree with NJPride though - the only place they will really move to is Newark I think.

I hope New Jerseyans aren't falling for the latest PR stunt by the Nets.

01-18-2009, 07:10 PM
BTW - so what type of stance do you think we should take on this? As someone posted on NJ.com - we can make sure we go to the games at Newark and show them that THAT is where the Nets should be PERMANENTLY. I would do that - but if there is any sign that they are going to Crooklyn - I will have nothing to do with the Nets.

Ratner has treated New Jersey terribly and seriously hope that Jeff Vanderbeek would buy the Nets. I know last year there was some talk of this last year and seriously hope that he would.

If the Nets do move to Newark - do you see any changes to the Prudential Center? I seriously hope not - the Devils have been a proud New JERSEY team and I hope the decor stays Devils-centric, even if the Nets move to the Prudential Center.

01-18-2009, 07:45 PM
Well, as of right now the Nets are still not playing any games at the Rock. If they were to play games there, yes, I would go and I would encourage as many people as were able to make those preseason games into sellouts to show that were they to move there they would receive the fan support that they've been lacking since they announced their intentions to leave the state.

As for changes to the Rock if the Nets came there, I don't see any major changes happening. They might add some Nets-centric pictures to the murals and perhaps intertwine Nets players into the Devils ones on the columns, but I couldn't imagine them changing the seatbacks or toilets or floor logos. If the Nets were to move to Newark permanently I think it might be a good idea for them to completely rebrand themselves. They've had a fairly tumultuous past even before Ratner that it might not be a bad idea for them to get away from. Obviously, I and every thinking person with taste in New Jersey am against the name Swamp-Dragons, but I'm sure another more tasteful name could be found. Perhaps they could even include Newark in the moniker.

As for Vanderbeek buying them, I would love to see him do so, but I really have to wonder if he'd be in a financial position to do so and who might the other people be to help him do so if he can't pull it off himself. The Nets are currently valued at $295 million by Forbes (down from the $300 million in 2004 that Ratner bought them for--FYI the Devils have gone up in value to $222 million since Vanderbeek bought them that same year for $125 million) and that is still a steep price to be looking for any investor to chip into a team that isn't making any money and hasn't in years especially in these harsh economic times.

01-21-2009, 05:53 PM
Maybe Shaq could help Jeff out:


It'd be fitting poetry to have Shaquille O'Neal and maybe even Queen Latifah get together with Vanderbeek and bring the Nets to the Rock.

01-21-2009, 09:58 PM
NewarkDevil5 - I just wanted to post the articles for future reference. If NJ.com deletes the articles, then people reading this thread in the future will be lost. You provided a lot of great articles and I appreciate it. I would love it is Shaq would bring the nets to Newark and it would be really great as you said if Queen Latifah got involved too.

New Jersey Nets might play preseason games at Prudential Center -- could permanent move to Newark follow? (http://www.nj.com/nets/index.ssf/2009/01/new_jersey_nets_might_play_pre.html)
by Dave D'Alessandro/The Star-Ledger
Monday January 12, 2009, 10:35 PM

The Nets could be headed for Newark after all.

For a short while, anyway.

Nets management has begun negotiations with Devils owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek to play three preseason games at the Prudential Center next October, according to several people with knowledge of the discussions who asked not to be identified out of concern for affecting the talks.

Nets CEO Brett Yormark would neither confirm nor deny the discussions Monday night, but he strongly implied such an arrangement could be feasible for his team.

"We're exploring many different options, continue to regionalize the franchise," Yormark said through a team spokesman. "Preseason games afford us the opportunity to do this."

Vanderbeek also didn't confirm or deny any talks with the Nets, but he said Monday night no preseason games had been scheduled for the Prudential Center.

"No, not that I know of," he said.

The discussions between Yormark and the Devils owner began at least one week ago, and whether this represents a sea change in the Nets' thinking about the viability of eventually moving to Newark -- should the Atlantic Yards project fall through -- is being discussed throughout the organization.

"That's what everyone is wondering," one high-ranking Nets official said Monday night. "With Brooklyn still up in the air, the question is whether they're warming to the idea of moving to Newark, even though it's clear that getting to Brooklyn is best for the long-term health of the franchise."

The Nets have played at Izod Center -- and its various incarnations -- since 1981, and it remains one of the most antiquated arenas in the NBA. In a recent interview, Yormark extolled the relationship his team has with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, but reiterated that the team can never get in the black if they play in a facility with only 28 luxury suites.

More than once, however, Yormark has put the kibosh on any discussion about moving out of Izod Center before the $1 billion Barclays Center is completed, which he predicts will be sometime in 2011. (The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Nets owner Bruce Ratner is considering scaling back the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.)

The general feeling is that the Nets do not want to be a second tenant in someone else's building, while the Devils most likely would not be interested in sharing ownership of the Prudential Center.

But Yormark also left open the door to dipping his toe in the Newark waters simply by stating that newer is better:

"We love our relationship with the NJSEA, they partner with us in every aspect of that building -- from the lounges to the LEDs (illuminated ad boards) to everything we've done there," Yormark said. "But (Izod Center) still doesn't provide us with the resources we need, and the contemporary look and feel of some of the newer buildings."

01-21-2009, 10:02 PM
New Jersey Nets will not play preseason games at Prudential Center next season (http://www.nj.com/nets/index.ssf/2009/01/new_jersey_nets_will_not_play.html)
by Dave D'Alessandro/The Star-Ledger
Tuesday January 13, 2009, 10:33 PM

The buzz about the Nets' brief sojourn into Newark for preseason games next fall died a sudden death Tuesday night, when the team's CEO said that all negotiations with the Prudential Center have ceased.

Brett Yormark, the Nets' top executive, confirmed that he was in discussions with Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek over possibly holding three exhibition games in the new building, but that the arrangement wouldn't be feasible.

He also stressed, as always, that such a pursuit wouldn't have signaled any change in the team's commitment to move to Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn sometime in 2011.

"I'm open and willing to consider any venue for some preseason games, if it's fiscally sound and gives me an opportunity to tap into a new consumer base -- it has nothing to do with us going to Brooklyn," Yormark said in a phone conversation from Boston.

"If that means taking us out of Izod Center, I'll consider that. However, all discussions (with the Devils) are off."

To illustrate his enthusiasm to explore the outer edges of the Nets' market -- or "regionalize the base," to use his vernacular -- Yormark admitted that he has "also been talking to Nassau (Coliseum) about some opportunities," because Long Island would be a "great feeder market" for the team's eventual home in Brooklyn.

Yormark would not discuss the financial drawbacks that submarined the discussions with Vanderbeek, but several Nets officials -- who cannot be identified, as they aren't authorized to speak for the team -- claim that a preseason game at The Rock wouldn't generate the same revenue they derive from one at Izod Center.

Vanderbeek could not be reached to comment on that assertion Tuesday night.

Moreover, the same Nets officials contend that the Devils do not have the "sales force or infrastructure" to create the necessary revenue that would appeal to the Nets.

Remarkably, a revenue boost and the opportunity to regionalize the fan base were not among Yormark's primary incentives to move the preseason games out of Izod Center in the first place, the officials confirmed.

Season-ticket holders at the antiquated arena in East Rutherford are obligated to purchase 44 games each season, including three exhibition games. Yormark wanted to shorten their commitment to 41 games -- eliminating the preseason obligation and shortening the customer's burden by roughly 5 or 10 percent, depending on where their seats are located.

In some cases, it would reduce their ticket cost by thousands of dollars.

Yormark said he'll continue to search for other preseason options to "increase the brand," but wouldn't divulge what arenas he might consider next.

The news that the Nets were considering the Prudential Center as a preseason home created widespread speculation that they were launching a trial balloon, perhaps exploring whether Newark would be a viable home if the Atlantic Yards project fell through.

Delayed repeatedly by legal challenges and financing issues, the construction of the $1 billion Barclays Center is scheduled to start sometime this year, Yormark has said, but no groundbreaking date has been set.

Since the average construction of an arena takes 30 months -- according to the estimate of Nets owner Bruce Ratner -- it will be difficult to open the 2011-12 season in Brooklyn if work doesn't begin by this May.

01-21-2009, 10:05 PM
New Jersey Devils owner still wants New Jersey Nets to play at Prudential Center (http://www.nj.com/devils/index.ssf/2009/01/new_jersey_devils_owner_still.html)
by Steve Politi/The Star-Ledger
Wednesday January 14, 2009, 9:06 PM

Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek fired back at his counterparts with the Nets Wednesday, telling the NBA team in a letter that he had every intention of making a proposal to host Nets preseason games at the Prudential Center and was surprised that the team abruptly stopped negotiations.

Vanderbeek questioned the timing of the recent media reports about the games and said Nets CEO Brett Yormark broke off discussions with the Devils without contacting the team directly.

"I believe direct communication is important," Vanderbeek wrote in the letter, a copy of which he provided to The Star-Ledger. "Let me clearly state that nothing would please the Devils' organization and the Prudential Center more than hosting several Nets preseason games next year and more into the future."

The Nets revealed this week that they hoped to play three preseason games in Newark next fall as a way to expand their fan base and to offset costs to their season-ticket holders -- leading many in the organization to wonder if the team was exploring the viability of a permanent move to Newark.

Team officials still insist that the Nets will be playing in Brooklyn in 2011, but their plans to build a $1 billion arena have been stalled by legal challenges and, more recently, the economic downturn.

Vanderbeek said the Devils were open to the idea of hosting Nets preseason games at the Rock as a way to showcase the 2-year-old Prudential Center to the team's fans, and that the team was working on its proposal when the Nets went public and called off the negotiations.

"I'm very surprised by the last couple of days, put it that way," Vanderbeek said, and then referred all questions to his letter to Yormark.

In the letter, Vanderbeek said the Nets wanted the Devils to guarantee regular-season gate for the three preseason games, even though the Nets would not bill its season-ticket holders.

"As you know, preseason games typically play to half the audience of a regular-season game," he wrote. "That is a difficult position to start from but we were preparing a program that would make sense for the Rock and the Nets."

The letter continues: "We still would like the opportunity to present our program and hope that your statements do not restrict the desire to provide your season-ticket holders with the opportunity enjoy the experience of games at the Rock. We stand ready to meet with you at your earliest convenience."

Yormark, reached before the Nets played Boston last night, said he was willing to reopen negotiations -- but to a point.

"As someone said earlier, if we can reduce the burden to our season-ticket holders, I shouldn't be responsible for selling tickets at another person's building," Yormark said. "And if the Prudential Center is viable for all sporting events and concerts, they should have the wherewithal to sell tickets and put on a great show for fans in Newark. That is their responsibility...

"My point is, I'm willing to have a conversation with (Vanderbeek) and Devils management if they meet the parameters that we set forth -- which is to guarantee the same gate revenue we have at the Izod Center (for preseason games), and take responsibility to promote and sell tickets. We would collaborate and assist in this effort. But the risk is on them -- they need to sell seats."

According to one Devils official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the team, Vanderbeek was angered at the way the negotiations with the Nets were portrayed because he had not spoken directly to Yormark in over a year and a half.

The official said he believed the Nets were trying to back the Devils into a corner to accept a deal that did not make sense financially. "It's completely concocted and a total setup -- that's very apparent," the official said.

Vanderbeek did take issue with assertion from an unnamed Nets official that the Devils did not have the "sales force or infrastructure" in place to create the necessary revenue to appeal to the Nets.

"I couldn't disagree more," he said. "How did these Nets officials make this decision? And why wouldn't they be comfortable with their own sales force selling their own preseason games?"

Dave D'Alessandro contributed to this report.

01-21-2009, 10:07 PM
Shaquille O'Neal may be the man to bring New Jersey Nets to the Prudential Center
by Steve Politi/The Star-Ledger
Tuesday January 20, 2009, 8:59 PM

The question nags at Shaquille O'Neal every time he visits his home city now, the same way it should nag at every basketball fan in this state. He sees the gleaming Prudential Center in the heart of a community that loves his sport, then shakes his head in wonder and frustration.

"Why," he wants to know, "aren't the Nets playing in Newark?"

On this topic, like everyone else, Shaq is stumped. The Nets should be playing in Newark, and not just for a few lousy preseason games as the team is proposing. And the 7-footer could be a major force in making them -- to borrow his favorite Scrabble word -- a Shaqtastic success.

Imagine the Nets finally giving up their Brooklyn fantasy and moving to the Rock with one of the all-time greats in uniform. Imagine Shaq, after he decides to retire, staying with the franchise as a part owner, his smiling face on billboards and his hulking frame sitting in courtside seats.

The thought has certainly occurred to O'Neal, who already is heavily involved in real estate ventures in the city and has a strong interest in getting involved in the business side of the sport.

"Yes. Yes. Yes," O'Neal said in a phone interview when asked if he wanted to get into ownership when he retired.

And if that team could be the Nets ...

"It'd be nice -- real nice," he said. "I know the area, I know the people, it's close to New York. Every organization needs two things: a great place to play and a couple of marquee players. You have that, and it's a no brainer."

So the player who can rescue the Nets for New Jersey is not LeBron James, the free agent everyone wants in 2010. As long as this team stays on this side of the Hudson River -- and few outside the organization believe they're getting to Brooklyn any more -- James is not signing here, no matter how chummy he is with part owner Jay-Z.

No, the savior already has a Superman tattoo on his chest. Shaq, whose Phoenix Suns will play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden tonight, also is a free agent in 2010. He might be nearing the end of his playing days, but his stature in the sport will never fade.

In Newark, he is more than a basketball player. He is a landowner and entrepreneur who is committed to rebuilding the city. He is part owner of a planned 25-story upscale condo building near NJPAC and understands how the presence of an NBA team would help that investment, too.

Shaq is the type of charismatic figure who could attract money from others, the perfect ambassador for a team that, for too much of its existence, has struggled to captivate this market.

So can Newark make him part of keeping the Nets here? That can only start once the team gives up on Brooklyn, a project that seems less likely each day. Nets CEO Brett Yormark still insists that the team will be playing in Brooklyn in 2011 with a groundbreaking expected this spring, but virtually all the news is bad.

The latest reports have the team scaling back its $1 billion design for the arena and possibly breaking ties with world-famous architect Frank Gehry, the man who made the project appealing in the first place. The Nets insist Gehry is still on board, and said in a statement that they are "working hard to find ways to build a world-class venue in an incredibly difficult economic environment."

The economy also figures to get worse before it gets better in 2009. Owner Bruce Ratner is a rich man, but stock in his Forest City Enterprises, which is saddled with heavy debt, is down sharply. Even he has to run out of patience losing $35 million a year at Izod Center.

"The best thing to do is wait and let it take care of itself," said Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex), the state senate president. "With Brooklyn looking like Dorothy from Kansas, they'll have to make a financial decision soon."

That decision should be Newark -- it just makes too much sense. As a kid growing up in the city, O'Neal had to take train trips with his father to the Garden if he wanted to see an NBA game. He never could have never imagined an arena sitting in the center of downtown.

Who could then? But last November, the night before the Suns played the Nets at the Meadowlands, Shaq attended a Devils game at the Rock and got the grand tour from Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek.

"I heard they were billing it as the No. 1 arena in the world, so I wanted to see for myself -- and I agree," O'Neal said, talking on a cell phone as he rode on the Suns team bus. "The place is great."

He said he told Vanderbeek that night that, if he needed anything at all for the arena, he was prepared to help. You can bet that Vanderbeek saved his number and remembered the promise.

You can bet that anybody serious about keeping this team in New Jersey should rely on one of the most popular players of his generation, and that Shaq is ready and willing.

"I have no idea why the Nets aren't playing there," Shaq said. "It makes no sense. I know they're trying to get to Brooklyn, but if I was the general manager or the owner of that team, I'd be playing in Newark right now."

Imagine, the Nets staying where they belong with one of the all-time greatest players helping them become a fixture in his home city. It would be, of course -- to borrow his word again -- Shaqtastic.

01-24-2009, 02:13 PM
My cousin just asked me about going to a Nets game on Wednesday. I'm planning on bringing a sign that says - Newark Bound and possibly on the other side - Keep the Nets in New Jersey!

I could include photos of Newark and the Prudential Center.

Any ideas?

01-24-2009, 07:55 PM
Sounds good the way you've got it.

Any ideas what to rebrand the Nets if they move to Newark? I'd like to see them change their name when they come the Rock just because of all the negative history up until this point. We should come up with some new names for the team.

01-25-2009, 06:29 PM
Sounds good the way you've got it.

Any ideas what to rebrand the Nets if they move to Newark? I'd like to see them change their name when they come the Rock just because of all the negative history up until this point. We should come up with some new names for the team.
Maybe something with the Jersey Devils theme - that way they can match the color scheme of the Prudential Center. What the New Jersey Demons. :)