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Battle of the Billboards II

23

Back last June, right after Mikhail Prokhorov took over, the Nets put up their ' "Blueprint for Greatness" billboard. It dominated 34th and 8th and drove Jim Dolan nuts. The Knicks then put up a billboard that overlooked the Barclays Center construction site. Now, Nike has put up a huge billboard of Carmelo Anthony at the other end of the block to celebrate his "return" to New York. Not to be outdone, the Nets had Deron Williams do a photo shoot in Manhattan Wednesday, Page Six reports. By month's end, his face will grace a larger billboard...in Times Square.

Nets Business Innovations Among NBA Best

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In the prestigious Sports Business Journal reader survey, the Nets rank third in "most innovative business practices". The franchise garnered 8.16% of the votes from nearly 1,000 participants. The Heat, with 17.65%, and the Mavericks, with 17.45% were the only teams finishing ahead of them.

Nets Hoping Cheap Seats Lead to Expensive Tastes

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John Brennan, the Record's sports business writer, blogs about the various ways to get cheap seats, even free ones, to Nets games. The move to Newark has led to more energetic but not full houses for the team. So, the team is using ticket resellers to make a certain number of heavily discounted or free seats available each game. Why? Brennan says Nets executives hope that fans who wind up with low-priced seats now will get hooked enough to buy season tickets later. He also notes that at least one reseller also sells airline tickets. So the stranded passenger at Newark might like an opportunity to jump on NJ Transit for a three minute trip to Penn Station and a Nets game.

Is Honesty the Best Policy?

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No one can accuse Avery Johnson of raising expectations He regularly talks about mental lapses...as he did Friday following a loss to the Jazz: "Our team, we're not at a point right now mentally where we really believe deep down in our gut that we can win these games." This new trend in management, ESPN's Jerry Green writes, can't help sales, suggesting fans respond to Nets ticket agents this way: "We're not at a point right now mentally where we really believe deep down in our gut that we can pay to watch you lose these games."

Nets: "London's Adopted Team"

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This should make Brett Yormark and Mikhail Prokhorov feel jolly good about their global branding efforts. The London Daily Mirror is offering weekly updates on the Nets' season because they're "London's adopted team". The Nets play two "home games" vs. the Raptors March 4 and 5 at London's 02 Arena. "Eye on the Nets" provides, among other things, news of Nets' "centre" Brook Lopez and "rapid point guard" Devin Harris as they prepare for "tie-ups" with opposing teams.

Knicks Increasing Brooklyn Presence

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Two weeks after dropping a billboard inside the Atlantic Yards footprint, the Knicks have added another, on Flatbush Avenue, just south of the Barclays Center construction site...and this one leaves no doubt the Nets' move to Brooklyn is the target. The new billboard expands on the "You, Us, We, Now" theme. "You" is "The Republic of Brooklyn" while "Us" is "The Original Ball Team of the Empire State." Subtle? No.

Yormark Hoping Less is More at Barclays

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The Nets are offering small suites ("Loft Suites") as well as large ones ("Jay-Z Suites") at Barclays Center in hopes of attracting mid to small sized companies to the suite market. They're pursuing the same strategy with sponsorships, Brett Yormark tells Forbes.com. The Nets are trying for a mix of big names with smaller ones. While Barclays, IZOD and Haier are big international brands, a lot of the arena sponsors are in fact mid to small sized companies.

New Data On Nets Attendance Woes Even Worse

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There's some new data out on the Nets attendance this season and they're worse than even the dismal first read. According to Sports Business Journal, not only did the Nets attract the fewest total fans (537,230) and per game (13,103). They also had the fewest as a percentage of arena capacity (69.1%), the smallest paid crowd for any NBA game this season (9,220) and were the only team that didn't sell out a single game. They also had the largest number of games in which the arena was filled to less than 75% of capacity--29 out of 41.

Adidas Expands NBA Marketing to Russia

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Once Mikhail Prokhrov is approved as Nets owner, the NBA plans to open an office in Moscow. Adidas, which holds the NBA apparel license, isn't waiting. The maker of authentic NBA jerseys is expanding its licensing rights to encompass Europe, focusing on growth opportunities in Russia, reports Sports Business Daily. China, Italy, France and Spain currently top the list of overseas markets for NBA apparel.

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