David Levy Bullish On Nets' Future With Durant, Irving On Board
New Nets CEO David Levy said that free agent acquisitions Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are "lifting everything from ticket sales to merchandise to sponsorship," according to Brian Lewis of the N.Y. POST. Levy, whose hiring became official yesterday, said, "We’re going to market our stars, our team, our culture. That’s opportunities for bigger sponsors." He said the foundation GM Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson have built is "going to help" him do that. More Levy: "All those arrows are pointing up. Way up. And that’s not surprising. When a team is hot, the building gets hot. ... There are new opportunities around e-sports or other things you want to bring into the building." Sources said that sports betting also "could be on the table" at Barclays Center. Levy "expects the Nets to cash in on the huge bump in interest, with or without a new TV deal." Levy said that new Owner Joe Tsai's "'prestige' in China will make that a valuable market." He added that several Nets players will be "introduced to marketing executives during next month’s China tour" (N.Y. POST, 9/19). On Long Island, Greg Logan notes in recent seasons, the Nets have "ranked at or near the bottom of the NBA in terms of attendance and revenue." But Levy "expects that to change." Levy: "My responsibility is to make sure we put people in the seats and get our sponsors up to where they should be and certainly suite sales" (NEWSDAY, 9/19).
EASIER SAID THAN DONE? In N.Y., Stefan Bondy notes Levy faces an "uphill climb." The Nets had the "lowest attendance in the NBA last season and the worst local TV ratings." Barclays Center has "bled money since it opened" in '12, "generating hundreds of millions in losses." Levy: "You put a winning team on the floor, the ratings are going to go up. You put fannies in the seats.” Bondy notes his job now is to "ensure monetary capitalization on that winning" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/19). ESPN’s Scottie Pippen called Tsai's nearly $3.5B purchase of the Nets and Barclays Center a "good investment." He said the Nets "definitely have a bright future in terms of basketball" with Durant and Irving, making them the "best team in New York" right now. ESPN's Dave McMenamin added, “Location, location, location. That’s all you need to know about that one” (“The Jump,” ESPN, 9/18).