The new Russian billionaires are all buying up sports teams one after the other and then leveraging it to promote their brands and business interests. Mikhail Prokhorov is the latest in the list of such billionaires and has taken over the New Jersey Nets. The Russian owner has big plans for his team.
Prokhorov is bringing Russian style to his team and to the area, first with his Russian-language luxury magazine Snob and also with a five-year sponsorship deal with Stolichnaya, the Russian vodka producer. The New York Times has reported about the matter and estimates the deal to be worth about $2 million a year. They also report that the deal will include the bars under the Stoli brand at the Barclays Centre where the Nets Arena is being built in Brooklyn. The Nets have already started travelling under the new owner. They are in Moscow right now and will travel to China also.
It is all part of Prokhorov’s strategy to create what he calls a global team. He’s hoping to have the entire country of Russia cheer for the Nets by bringing them to his home country. Since Yao Ming took over the Houston Rockets they have become popular in China leading to endorsement deals with Chinese companies.