You want to know how serious the Nets are taking this globalization theme? On Thursday, the Nets' French-born chairman spoke from Moscow with a Canadian-born sports reporter (and Nets fan) on an Israeli radio station. And of course, it was an interview arranged by an American sitting in the Nets offices in New York.
In the half-hour long interview, Christophe Charlier, Nets' chairman and top Mikhail Prokhorov aide, told Josh Halickman, aka "The Sports Rabbi", that the Nets are "ready to go wherever [the NBA] is willing to take us" overseas. This following a season that saw them open preseason with an Israeli team, jet around the world to run a clinic in Russia and play exhibition games in China, then play the first regular season games ever in Europe.
Charlier spoke at length about the value of Brooklyn, the "wow" effect of trading for Deron Williams, the menu of events other than the NBA at Barclays Center ... even how it could become a tourist attraction. He spoke as well abut competition with the Knicks. "I wish the Knicks the best of luck. I want them to be a great team. I just want to be better than them".
Excerpts after the jump.
Great european football teams are very successful attracting fans all around the world. We don't see any reason why the NBA couldn't have that kind of attraction for fans of basketball around the world and we're very happy to be partnering with the NBA in fulfilling that demand
For the NBA. we're ready to go to wherever they're willing to take us, whether it's China, as we played two exhibition games there last October; or London, where we were in March; or Russia, where we did a clinic for children last October. We're ready to lead the NBA wherever they're willing to follow us and to follow us wherever they're ready to lead us.
As were trying to make the Nets the Russian team and were seeing a lot of in-roads in that since Mikhail Prokhorov bought the team last year, it's a natural thing for us to make the same in-roads and become Israel's team. So I'm very excited to be here today...and hopefully some people will tune into our games next season.
The reception we've gotten from the NBA and from the Nets fans has been absolutely fantastic. The other owners of the other teams have also bought into the globalization and the foreign owner. They understand what this brings to all the teams and the league, to start globalizing.
On hopes for Brooklyn
Brooklyn is a great place to have a sports team. the fans there have been excited to have a sports team come back after almost 60 years of professional sports not being there. Bringing Barclays Center and the Nets there will be a fantastic addition to the cultural and entertainment opportunities in Brooklyn and be very exciting for us.
On Deron Williams
The word is really "wow". The way that Billy King, our general manager, was able to get him to come to the Nets at at time just before the end of the trade deadline back in February was absolutely phenomenal. We're very excited to have him on our team as we make our move to Brooklyn. As you've seen, we've been highlighting him as our star as we move to Brooklyn. Once you've got a point guard of his quality and once you've got a center of the quality that Brook Lopez brings, the other players play better once you've got a number 1 and number 5 quality player there.
We're very happy to have him and he is certainly the face of the team as we move into Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season.
On Competing with the Knicks
The most exciting thing in European football is when you have a derby between two teams from the same city playing each other and we're very excited. in the past, there has been times where the Knicks have fielded a good team and there have been times where we have fielded great teams. but its very rarely happened that the Knicks and the Nets have really had contenders on the court at the same time. I wish the Knicks the best of luck. I want them to be a great team. I just want to be better than them. What's most exciting for us and for our fans as we move to Brooklyn is to have a great team playing in Manhattan and an even better team playing in Brooklyn...both of them contending for the playoffs and for championship. If that were to happen, everyone wins.
On Barclays Center
It's going to be a fantastic addition to the cultural and the entertainment and the sports life of Brooklyn in that we are going to be bringing not only Nets basketball ...and we very much plan to have a contender, championship team by the time we get to Brooklyn... but we're also going to bring tennis and circus and all sorts of events, including for the first time ever, world class boxing with Oscar de la Hoya and Golden Boy boxing to Brooklyn on multiple occasions a year.
We're planning to make the Barclays Center one of the absolutely must-see events for people who live in New York and for people who visit New York on holidays or for business. With tennis and boxing and Feld Entertainment for family entertainment, and Legardere for tennis and IMG and Live Nation and all of our event partners.
On ticket pricing
We've been working with Brett Yormark, CEO of the Nets and Barclays Center, and his team in offering a price range throughout the arena that is very competitive for what else is available in New York. and when the fans start to see what's available to them and the quality of the entertainment and the quality of the arena and the ease of getting to the arena from any point in New York City and the suburbs, I think it's going to be extremely competitive. One of the things that forces us to be on our toes and to offer a great product is there are so many different entertainment opportunities in New York City and so to get the attention of the fans and get them to come to Brooklyn, to the different events, we have to make sure that we're world class and can compete with any other entertainment offering and I think we've done that.
On making the Nets Israel's team
We'd very much like to be the team that the Israelis look at when they follow NBA basketball. And not only because Mikhail is a Russian owner and because they are many Russians in New Jersey but because they are many people with family ties to Israel in Brooklyn and because we want to make all efforts to make ourselves accessible as a team and as players to the fans around the world.