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Sam Zussman named CEO of BSE Global and Alternate Governor

Sam Zussman

BSE Global, parent company of the Brooklyn Nets, Long Island Nets and Barclays Center, has named Sam Zussman Chief Executive Officer. Zussman will transition into the CEO role this summer and join the organization full-time prior to the start of the 2022-23 season. In addition, he will also be nominated to become an Alternate Governor of the Nets.

He replaces John Abbamondi who announced earlier this year that he would leave the CEO job once the Nets found a new chief executive. Zussman is the third CEO of BSE Global since Joe Tsai bought the team in late 2019.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sam into the BSE Global family,” said Joe Tsai, owner of BSE Global and Governor of the Brooklyn Nets in a press release. “Sam comes to us with incredibly diverse experience in operating businesses and leading people. I am excited to partner with Sam as we develop a highly strategic approach to growing our business at BSE Global.”

Zussman, who joins BSE Global after 16 years with IMG/Endeavor, will lead the overall business strategy and operations for BSE Global. He will also oversee the advancement of the company’s existing sports, media and entertainment business to go with new opportunities for growth.

Sportico reported on Friday that Zussman will have to meet some lofty goals.

Sportico estimated BSE Global will generate $343 million in revenue this year. The Warriors, long a model for Tsai, generated $589 million. It also included this quote from Tsai.

“There’s a lot of potential to generate more revenue with new technology and new sources of sponsorship. So when we set out to find a new CEO for the business, I thought the most important criteria was someone who is strategically aligned with our thinking, and has the executive management experience to execute that vision.”

He also suggested that a new strategic revenue plan could lead to new events (not further defined) and sponsorships. The Nets already have a new jersey sponsorship deal with WeBull, an online trading app, which is worth $30 million annually. That’s three times what BSE Global gets from Barclays Bank, the British bank, for arena naming rights.

Tsai has repeatedly spoken about gaining new revenue from things like betting from the seats; the sale of fan tokens, a crypto currency, etc. — going from a media model to transactional model in revenue generation.

Zussman said he’s long been familiar with the Nets.

“I attended my first Nets game when the team played in New Jersey and have been impressed watching the organization evolve into what it has become today,” said Zussman. “Thank you to Joe Tsai, Clara Wu Tsai, and Ollie Weisberg for inspiring me with their passion and vision for this company, and for giving me the opportunity to lead it. I’ve spent the majority of my career learning new businesses and this position is an exciting next step. BSE Global has a great deal of momentum as we look to the future.”

In his 16 years with IMG/Endeavor, Zussman has been leading the company’s growing portfolio of owned and operated event divisions that include golf, motorsports, tennis, action sports, festivals, and other cultural art and lifestyle properties. Zussman also oversees the company’s global media production business, media rights acquisition, distribution business, and betting rights business.

Zussman, an Israeli, spent four years as a Lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Force. He holds an M. B. A from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, a L. L. B. from the Tel Aviv University Law School, and a B. A. in Economics cum laude from the Tel Aviv University School of Economics.

David Levy, former head of Turner Media CEO, was Tsai’s first choice when he took over the team in October 2019 but within two months he was done, “due to philosophical differences.” Oliver Weisberg, head of Blue Pool Capital, Tsai’s investment vehicle, took over as interim CEO through the early days of the COVID pandemic, staying in the job until Tsai named Abbamondi in July 2021. Abbamondi announced in February of this year that he, too, was leaving.

Zussman will join Weisberg and Sean Marks as alternate governors of the Nets. Marks was given the alternate governor title in January 2021.