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Brett Yormark: ‘We want to capture and leverage the moment’

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Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Brett Yormark knows that the arrival of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn is a “moment,” a point in time that is not just a joyful time for fans, old or new, but an opportunity to do what he’s paid to do: run a profitable business.

“We’ve been able to capture the moment and leverage the moment to drive the business forward,” Brett Yormark, CEO of BSE Global, the Nets’ parent company, tells The Athletic. “No one’s getting carried away here with two weeks of success — I look at this as a marathon, not a sprint. But obviously we’ve had signs of progress and momentum and we’re making the most of it.”

Yormark pointed specifically to what happened on June 30 —a Sunday— as the team and its fans waited for word from KD and Irving.

“[W]hen a thousand calls are starting to come in, you get pretty excited,” Yormark said. “You realize momentum is shifting.”

There are other indices Yormark had cited previously: the team’s Instagram account immediately added 100,000 Instagram followers, the team’s website saw a 675 percent spike in traffic. The Nets have already surpassed their ticket revenue from the entirety of last season and are on pace for record franchise revenue this year, Kavitha Davidson of The Athletic noted.

But the Nets long-time CEO also noted other data showing that the free agency success may very well be broader and deeper. Davidson writes...

When Durant posted a photo of his new Nets jersey on Instagram, switching from his iconic No. 35 to No. 7, it trended on Weibo, a social media platform often dubbed “China’s Twitter.” To date, the Nets have sold jerseys in 19 different countries — something Yormark chalks up not just to the names they’ve added, but to the strength and marketability of the team’s home borough.”

Yormark wouldn’t go into whether the Nets could supplant the Knicks as New York’s team, but admitted that maybe he and his staff talk about it ... in private.

“I don’t really get into that conversation,” Yormark said. “You’ll never hear us — maybe unless it’s behind closed doors — talk about our aspirations to be New York’s team.

Brooklyn —or as Yormark has always called, “Brand Brooklyn”— has been been a big part of the team’s identity. Now with two transcendent stars, Yormark is trying to integrate them into the larger marketing picture for Barclays Center.

“No different than what I’m sure LeBron (James) meant to Staples Center when he went there, we’re sensing the same enthusiasm for the building from the artist community,” Yormark told The Athletic. “These artists that are now announcing their tours, they want to play Kyrie and KD’s building. They want to play the hip, cool building in Brooklyn where the stars are playing. So it has an effect on your programming and content.”

One big question mark in terms of sales is whether the addition of KD and Kyrie will lead to to the sales of suites. which are all-event contracts.

“It has an effect on your suites because even though we sell suites for every event in the building, the anchor tenant drives that. So when the anchor tenant has a lot of excitement around it, it creates excitement for the overall suite business,” he said. “Across all of our business verticals we’re seeing some momentum and progress right now.”

Another is whether with or without Durant, the Nets can sustain a fan base that not only filled the arena the last seven home dates, but showed more of a psychic commitment to the home team than in the past.

“When we first got to Brooklyn, in some respects it was manufactured,” Yormark said. “There was a lot of hype in moving the team to Brooklyn.”

Yormark also spoke briefly about his relationship with Roc Nation Sports, which is headed by his twin brother, Michael. He claimed that he and his brother didn’t talk about Roc Nation’s big client, Irving, until after the deal with the Nets was done.