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NETS AND SPORTS AUTHORITY PREPARING FOR LEASE NEGOTIATIONS
Published November 17, 1997
Lease negotiations between the Nets and the N.J. Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) "are set to begin" in the next few weeks, according to Jon Gelberg of the Newark STAR- LEDGER. The Nets hold the option of opting-out following the '99-2000 season and Sunday's STAR-LEDGER featured separate Q&As with NJSEA CEO Robert Mulcahy and Nets President & COO Michael Rowe. Rowe, on possible renovation: "The Sports Authority has to prove to us they can successfully renovate it and (that) the kind of cash flows that are needed will be there." Rowe said that the Nets paid $1.5 million in state sales taxes last year and added, "[Y]ou can buy at least one player with that." Rowe, on the threat of relocation: "There have been a number of unsolicited offers to purchase the team in the last few years. The shorter the lease, the more attractive the franchise. We've not been on the footsteps of any city hall in the Sun Belt or the Midwest. The Sports Authority is smart enough to know what's out there" (STAR-LEDGER, 11/16). NJSEA VIEW: Mulcahy said that he expects the Nets talks to be "frank and cordial." Mulcahy, asked if the state could provide a subsidy or tax break to the team: "There has to be another stream of revenue to keep the complex as competitive as it is now. ... That's a significant question that has to be resolved." Mulcahy, on whether NJ would "be better off" with a new arena: "You have to take a close look at the economic realities. I'm not sure what the market is. You can talk about having a facility with 200 luxury boxes and hundreds of club seats, but that won't do you much good, in terms of producing revenues, if those boxes and seats are empty" (Jon Gelberg, Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/16).