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Irina Pavlova: Brooklyn Nets likely worth $700 - $800 million

Brooklyn Nets

In an extensive interview with a Russian business magazine, Irina Pavlova says that while the Nets aren't making money (yet), the value of the team is now between $700 and $800 million, up from the $220 million Mikhail Prokhorov laid out in 2010.

"When we bought the team, player salaries were much lower," Pavlova told Finparty. "We know that it is virtually impossible for the team to earn (a profit) annually. This can be done only by selling it. Since our move to Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Nets value has increased by 2.5 to 3 times. The (original) deal was estimated at $220 million, now it is worth $700-to-800 million. Forbes recently estimated us at $ 530 million, but it's has since been announced that the Sacramento Kings could be sold at a price above $ 500 million."

Pavlova declined comment when asked if Prokhorov might be interested in buying the remainder of the team --he owns 80 percent of the team as well as 45 percent of the arena operating company. "This question should be addressed to Mikhail Dmitrievich, but I do not see much point in it. Mr. Prokhorov is the principal owner of the team, and he controls it."

As president of Onexim Sports and Entertainment USA, Pavlova runs the business side of the operation for Prokhorov in the US. She spoke of some of her duties including investigating a new training facility for the team; choosing critical components of the arena, like the $10 million Daktronics scoreboard -- "at a certain point, I pointed at one of them and said, "let's do this one;" dealing with the NBA; and helping US managers understand how Prokhorov's style differs from that of a typical American owner -- less "micro-management." (She also admits she and he don't interact that much with the players because, as she notes, they can be traded or sold.)

There are tangible signs the team has entered the city's collective consciousness. "Many wear our shirts just because it's cool, they can be worn to a party, and to the club. Black and white - it is beautiful and fashionable. Gear with the Brooklyn Nets logo have been worn by Jay-Z, Beyonce and Justin Bieber."

Asked if she believes in Prokhorov's vision of a championship by 2015, she responded, "Yes, I believe. I am obliged to do it by position, but as a fan I too believe," she told reporter Guzel Gubeydullina. "Mikhail made a promise in 2010, so we have two more years. This year we go to the playoffs, so I think it's all real. Here, of course, a lot of components - health, injury, an element of luck. But this goal is achievable."

Pavlova would like to the see the Nets have more Russian fans ... only 20 of the team's games were seen on Russian TV this year. Perhaps, she says, it's time for a Nets Shop in Moscow.

As for her favorite part of the job? "Do something nice for our young fans." And Gubeydullina notes she's seen the "Kiss me Irina" signs!