TrueHoop pointed us to this report in the Sports Business Journal on the Nets' operating company reporting ominous financial results for the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31. Not surprisingly, Nets Sports & Entertainment -- the division of Forest City Ratner Enterprises that owns 23 percent of the team -- reported a $27.8 million loss for the fiscal year. That figure has ballooned from $9.5 million in 2006.
The takeaway -- that's TV lingo -- is that Forest City warned in its 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that some sponsors for the Brooklyn arena could flee due to extensive delays associated with the project and the downturn in the economy. Barclays has reiterated its comitment to the arena's title sponsorship, but other sponsorship deals could go up in smoke.
Brett Yormark, the Nets' intrepid CEO, told SBJ: “We feel very confident about all of our sponsorships. We have a higher level of sponsorship commitments for the Barclays Center, before groundbreaking, than any other arena in recent history.”
SBJ touted the results as the first financial report of a Big Four pro sports team since the economy turned. It reinforced not only the challenges still facing the Nets with their intended move to Brooklyn, but also the problems they face in New Jersey until they get there -- if they get there. Attendance at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J., continues to slide -- down 3.3 percent from the previous year reported to 15,160 per game. And if the Nets are struggling to keep sponsorship dollars for the Brooklyn arena, how are they going to keep the dollars coming into a lame-duck, antiquated building in the Meadowlands?