Over the course of the past two decades, ownership of sports teams has become one of the most important trends among the billionaires of the world, and it is all set to continue. Billionaires and the ultra-rich have bought sports team in the United States and soccer clubs in Europe quite frequently over the recent years. In a new development, it has emerged that the co-founder of Chinese e-commerce and tech giant Alibaba, Joe Tsai is all set to buy the NBA franchise Brooklyn Nets for $3.5 billion. In this regard, it needs to be pointed out that Tsai already holds a 49% stake in the Nets, which he bought for $1 billion last year.
The rest of the stake was supposed to be passed on to Tsai in two years by Mikhail Prokhorov. However, it is now being reported that the entire process is being accelerated and an announcement could be made on Friday itself. However, it is necessary to point out that in addition to taking control of the Brooklyn Nets, Tsai is also going to acquire the Barclays Center, where the Nets play their home games. The acquisition of the Barclays Center is not part of the deal to acquire the Nets, and Tsai will need to pay a separate amount for that particular transaction. Hence, the total deal is going to be touch a whopping $3.3 billion in total, which also includes the debts that have gone into financing the whole package.
If the deal actually goes through, then it is all set to be biggest fee ever paid to acquire a sports team. In 2018, the record had been set after the Carolina Panthers was acquired for $2.28 billion by David Tepper, the hedge fund manager. The overall record for the acquisition of teams in the NBA stands at $2.2 billion that was set two years ago when the Houston Rockets was acquired by Tilman Fertitta. It is a significant deal for Tsai and gives him access to the highly lucrative New York market. However, it is also important to point out that the Nets have almost always been a smaller presence in the state due to the clout enjoyed by the Knicks. It is set to be a landmark deal and one that could totally transform the Nets in the years to come.