Bob Raissman of the Daily News takes a look Sunday at how the prospect of the Nets without Kevin Durant is, quite simply, bad for business and not just in Brooklyn but in the Manhattan boardrooms of the YES Network and the NBA as well as national broadcasters around the country.
Whether Durant holds out or is traded, the absence of the game’s best player on the New York stage is going to hurt everyone as Raissman writes:
While this story has provided sizzle to the NBA offseason, it’s bad for business.
No one likes uncertainty. And that’s what Durant, one of the NBA’s marquee attractions, has served up. Now, even Durant, or [Joe] Tsai, cannot provide guidance to the league’s national TV partners (Turner Sports, ESPN) on when, or how many times, they should schedule the Nets next season.
Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network (TV home of the Nets) suits cannot tell advertisers if Durant, who signed a four-year, $198 million contract extension in 2021, will be in Brooklyn to start the season. Without Durant, the value of the Nets to YES, and what it can charge advertisers to purchase commercials, takes a hit. Without Durant, the arrow too
points down when it comes to selling Nets season ticket subscriptions and corporate sponsorships.
It’s more likely that the season ticket sales are affected than corporate sponsorships since the latter are often multi-year.
Still, the uncertainty, which could last into the season, is going to be felt in the offices of BSE Global, one floor below the practice courts at the HSS Training Center. Joe Tsai, whose teams and Barclays Center generated $343 million in revenue this year, wants to reach the $500 million plateau in three years and $1 billion in seven. Without a winning club, or at least stars if not superstars, that seems like a difficult, if not impossible, goal to reach.
Raissman notes that if the situation is resolved quickly — which he and everyone else thinks is unlikely — the organization could sell the idea of a “new” team, one featuring Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons and whoever the Nets get in return for KD. Without a resolution, he writes, the problem could spread beyond Tsai’s books to those of the NBA as the issue of player empowerment becomes a bigger issue.
It will be discussed on a daily basis and be a part of any Nets national or local telecasts. The day-to-day anxiety will continue; reaffirming the notion that the NBA is a player’s league. Will the Durant situation, especially if it drags on, become a tipping point?
We’ll know more this week about just how much the Durant situation has hurt the Nets. The regular season schedule is expected out within days. Last year, 26 Brooklyn games were featured on ABC, ESPN, TNT including the marquee spot on Christmas Day.
A long standoff could even be an issue in the negotiations between the NBA and broadcasters which will take place during the 2024-25 season, Raissman believes. The league is hoping to triple the rights package and perhaps draw non-traditional players like streaming services into the competition. Whoever is talking with the NBA is likely to bring up the instability created by wandering superstars. Raissman suggests:
Can the owners expect that kind of dough from their TV partners when they can’t even guarantee superstars, under contract, will be a part of their team’s roster?
Raissman had no quotes from the Nets or Durant. BSE Global is not likely to talk about where things stand with season ticket sales or corporate sponsorships, etc. That’s proprietary information, but be certain they are monitoring it all.