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Joe Tsai’s —and David Levy’s— new opportunity: making Nets THE team in New York

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Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Knicks fans, perhaps just a teeny bit jealous of the Nets summer success, will constantly remind their Nets counterparts that Brooklyn was last in attendance and that “New York will always be a Knicks town.”

Maybe. David Levy, Joe Tsai’s choice for CEO of the Nets and his other sports properties, think the New York fan base is up for grabs. In short, Tsai and Levy have arrived at a moment they didn’t create ... but can seize.

In comments to New York media, Levy has said the team goal is put a winning team on the court and leverage that to a bigger presence for the Nets in the city and beyond.

“Make Brooklyn a destination for all people in the New York area, for sure. And to build out the Brooklyn brand globally,” Levy told the Daily News Wednesday.

Kristian Winfield of the Daily News takes a look at the New York fanscape and argues that although the Nets have an uphill fight (even assuming superstar signings lead to wins) certain things that are converging in the borough and city beyond the arrival of KD and Kyrie, things that could help the Nets. It starts with the demographics of New York.

Gentrification is a real thing, and many of those who live in Brooklyn’s hottest neighborhoods are transplants of one form or another. (According to a 2017 NYU report, only about 49% of Brooklyn residents were born in New York state.) The Nets are targeting the fans who have no hometown allegiance simply as a byproduct of, as Levy said, being the winning team in town.

In fact, other city data suggest that more than 40 percent of the entire city is now foreign-born, as high as it’s ever been.

Moreover, the population of Brooklyn is growing. Last year, the U.S. Census projected that by 2020, Brooklyn could surpass Chicago in population. Much of that growth is among millennials who are a prime market for sports and entertainment.

All of that suggests that with the new energy of new superstars— and new ownership and management— the Nets could make a push.

Indeed, a team spokesman told NetsDaily Tuesday that it will soon distribute final numbers for ticket sales this summer, starting with a big boost in season tickets.

“I love the fact there is that competitive crosstown rivalry on the floor because that also sells tickets and it keeps conversations going on sports shows and in magazines and newspapers,” Levy told Greg Logan.

“But I think we’ll attract young fans to this team. If we’re winning on the floor, we’re going to get those fans. It’s just natural. It’s a big enough market. This story will continue to play out for sure this year.”