With Nets' assistance, Islanders going for Russian fans

Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Hello Russia!

Expect to see a lot more Russian marketing of the Nets ... and Islanders. The Nets have an increasingly visible Russian language site and don't be surprised to see the Islanders do the same. It's kind of a no-brainer with Mikhail Prokhorov's highly visible role with the Nets and now, the signing of Andrei Kirilenko.

Earlier this week, before the Nets signed Kirilenko, the Times reported how Brett Yormark, now in charge of Islander business operations, plans to supplement the NHL team's Long Island fan base with Russian hockey fans in Brooklyn and the rest of the city. Charles Wang, the Islanders owner, is onboard as well.

Yormark said he and Wang planned to keep Islanders’ name and colors (which are the official colors of Nassau County). But he said they would seek new fans, including ethnic Russians and others who live in New York and may be hockey fans. The Islanders will receive a share of the revenue generated by suites used for hockey games.

The marketing has already begun on a small scale. BCTV's Alyonka Larionov, a Moscow native and daughter of a Russian hockey great, has been increasingly involved in the Islander transition to Brooklyn.

Indeed, there are more than one million people in the New York metro area who are either Russians or Russian-Americans. How many of them are hockey --or basketball-- fans remains unknown, but the executives who run both teams expect to find out.

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