Jay-Z is a shrewd business, man.
The mogul's high-profile entry into sports agency --signing Robinson Cano and teaming with CAA-- came as a surprise and since Brett Yormark didn't respond to media requests for interviews on the subject, it's not known how much the Nets knew about his latest business venture. The big question of course is whether he will venture into repping NBA players. If he does, and ESPN reports that is part of the long-term plan, then he would have to give up his stake, as small as it is, in the team. He would not have to give up his stake in the arena, on whose board he sits.
As Alex Raskin points in the Wall Street Journal, it's not about money. According to reports, Jay-Z paid seven figures for his interest in the team a decade ago. Although it hasn't produced any return, he didn't throw good money after bad in the succeeding years as the planned Brooklyn move stalled. He has been rewarded in other ways by the Nets and Barclays Center owners, reaping untold amounts of money for his work on the team's iconic logo, uniform and advertising. He also helped design some of the arena's interior spaces.
The big issue would be losing the link to a "cultural icon," as the Nets refer to him, reportedly by contract. Raskin quotes a recent Yormark comment on his ability to draw fans to the team. "You have other people who like us because we've married the world of sports to entertainment because of Jay-Z."
How soon might Jay-Z have to make a choice? No one is saying, but he did wear a Nets cap when signing Cano to his contract!
- The Impact of Jay-Z's Moves - Alex Raskin - Wall Street Journal
- With New Move, Jay-Z Enters a Sports Agent State of Mind - Ken Belson - New York Times
- Jay-Z an ‘agent’ of change - Rich Calder - New York Post