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Even with Prokhorov's billions, Nets pushing new revenue streams

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Gewirtz is both the chief legal officer and executive vice president of business affairs for the Nets and Barclays Center. He sat down with Law in Sport recently to discuss his role. Although some of the interview was about his legal role, a lot was about the team's revenue side: that is how the team can make money.

Although Mikhail Prokhorov is still (mostly) financing the Nets losses --reported to be $50 million a year, Gewirtz told Law in Sport's Sean Cottrell that a lot of what he and Brett Yormark do every day is look for revenue streams to offset as much of those losses as they can. And that means things like selling naming rights to everything from training camp --"fueled by bedgear," to official airline deals --Aeroflot for the Nets, JetBlue for Barclays Center-- to the new multi-year "presenting sponsor" arrangement with SW24, the security company.

"With my business affairs role, I work very, very collaboratively with Brett and his business development team in thinking of ways to find new revenue sources and find ways they can be structured in a way that is legally sound and a means to maximize our revenues," says Gewirtz.

"We have expenses, we pay players. Players get paid very, very well. we have other expenses: The Nets have to pay rent to the Barclays Center because they license Barclays Center to play their games. There's a lot of expense pressure, and therefore there's a lot of revenue pressure. And we want to offset as much of those expenses as possible with robust revenues. So it's what we think about all the time."

Over the years the Nets waited for approvals to build the arena, it made a number of deals for naming rights and sponsorships, reportedly more than 100 of them. And that means making sure there's no overlap, no conflict, Gewirtz said.

"There are issues that do come out. whether it relates to the exclusivity we've granted and as a result of that exclusivity, can we do a deal with company X and does that in any way encroach on the deal we've done already company wide?" said Gewirtz, who previously worked for the International Olympic Committee,the LGPA and Coca-Cola.