Yormark: Nets Want to Keep Jersey Fans While Embracing Brooklyn

In an unwieldy interview on Russian television last week, Brett Yormark talked extensively about how the Nets can keep their New Jersey fans while at the same time embracing new fans in Brooklyn.

"We have to give them a good product, when we get to Brooklyn, that will keep the Jersey fan very interested," Yormark told Al Gurnov of Russian Television. "We're still in the same market ... We did keep the name Nets, so those fans in New Jersey who still want to root for us will have a chance to do so."

Declining political comments, Yormark said of Mikhail Prokhorov, "Obviously we are very supportive of his endeavors and we look forward to see what unravels over the course of the next month." The election is a week from Sunday.

Gurnov was surprised to hear no Nets fans are unhappy with Prokhorov. "Not even conservatives?" Gurnov asked. "None," replied Yormark."Our fans are very much engaged and like the direction of ownership."

On Prokhorov as presidential candidate

It"s created a lot of interest in our office, having an owner running for president.

He's a confident businessman, one who has an incredible acumen for everything he does. Obviously, we are very supportive of his endeavors and we look forward to see what unravels over the course of the next month.

On why Prokhorov bought the Nets

He plays basketball and i understand he is quite good although I have not played with him.

In many respects the opportunity to advance basketball here in Russia was at the forefront of that decision. As you know, many of our coaches have been here hosting clinics. Our players were here about 20 months ago hosting clinics so i think one of the big reasons was seeing how owning an NBA team could advance the sport of basketball here in Russia.

We plan on being very, very visible here, as the NBA is.

I think that Mr. Prokhorov has instilled a great level of confidence in our franchise. Over the two years, we have been rebuilding, getting ready for our move to Brooklyn. and I think we have set ourselves up to be quite successful this off-season. We have a lot of flexibility ...draft picks, the salary cap--we have a lot of space-- and we've got short term contracts. So we are in a position to truly entertain lots of possibilities and so I am very confident we will bring a great product to Brooklyn next year.

The fans are very happy. Our fans are very much engaged and like the direction of ownership.

On keeping New Jersey fans while embracing Brooklyn fans

What we do as marketers is to make sure that we don't alienate our current fan base but at the same time to look forward and embrace the new fan base that's coming in Brooklyn. If we do our jobs correctly, our Jersey fans will follow us, either watch games on TV or come watch games in Brooklyn live. At the same time, we will inherit and hopefully embrace a whole new fan base in Brooklyn. We have to give them a good product, when we get to Brooklyn, that will keep the Jersey fan very interested.

We're still in the same market...And we did keep the name "Nets", so those fans in New Jersey who still want to root for us will have a chance to do so. And quite candidly, the relocation of our New Jersey fans base has gone quite well. They've already purchased tickets for our season in Brooklyn.

On his philosophy of marketing sports as an experience

We are entertainment. We sell fun. We don't sell wins and losses. we sell the overall experience from the time the person sets foot in the arena until they leave. Sports like entrainment is aspirational, so there's a common denominator there.

On why he returned to the Nets after two previous runs in the 1980's and 1990's.

In my exit interview in 1988, I was reminded that I did say that one day i'm going to come back and run this place.

On All-Access

One of things we wanted to do was become the most accessible team in all of pro sports. as the drivers are in Nascar and I think we did it very differently. We got very close to the brands that we are working with. We gave them ownership of many of the platforms we are establishing but most of all we enabled our sponsors to get very close to the franchise.

On the Nets community efforts

We want people to feel good about you and to do so you need to get out into the community. Throughout my years with the Nets, we have had great players who were willing to get out there and work...It means clinics, philantrophy, anything that can truly make a difference in a child's life is what we try to do with our players with respect to our community outreach programs.

On whether athletes "play" or "work"

Anyone that commits themselves to the type of season and the rigors that professional athletes have to commit to, I think they do it for the passion. Now obviously they make a good living at it, but you have to be passionate about it, to work at it, to be teh best and i think we have some of the greatest athletes in the world that are representing the NBA. Absolutely.

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