With Sacramento Kings to fetch half billion dollars, How much are the Brooklyn Nets worth?

Bruce Bennett

Back in 2010, after he bought the Nets, Mikhail Prokhorov made two predictions tied to 2015, first well publicized, that the team would win the NBA championship. The other, in the Russian edition of Forbes, was that his investment in the Nets and Barclays Center would be worth a billion dollars that year. Months before, Prokhorov had laid out $200 million for his stake, agreed to assume about $180 million in debt and cover up to $60 million in operating expenses while in New Jersey, including $4 million to break the team's lease at IZOD Center.

Both of his predictions drew laughs. The first is in a bit of trouble. The second may actually be closer to realization than anticipated, especially after Wednesday's news that the Kings are about to be sold to a Seattle investment group for half billion dollars.

In the past 18 months, four NBA franchises have been sold. two in the last eight months. The latest sales, of the Hornets and Grizzlies, may be the most instructive in determining the Nets value. Both were sold for around $350 million. New Orleans is the nation's 53rd largest market, Memphis only five markets bigger. The Sacramento market is considerably larger than New Orleans and Memphis but is still only 20th, not first like New York.

In each case, the price was purely for the team, not for any interest in the team's home arena. And that, as well as the New York market, is why the Prokhorov investment has a chance at that one billion dollar valuation. He owns 80 percent of the Nets and 45 percent of Barclays Center. He also has an option to buy up to 20 percent of the overall Atlantic Yards project at a bargain basement price.

Marc Ganis, a sports management consultant, estimated back in November that the team alone was worth $600 million, telling Crain's New York Business, "Certainly, a number north of $600 million is very doable, if they haven't achieved it." The arena's value adds to the investment. Since opening in late September, Barclays has gotten rave reviews and that was before the Islanders' 25-year lease was announced.

What's this mean for fans? It's really quite simple. If you believe your investment has grown dramatically, you're going to be more willing to make big payouts for top-notch talent, whether on the court ... or on the sidelines.

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