NBA owners and players are trying to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. So far, training camps and some preseason games have been canceled, but the constant threat of the entire season getting flushed down the drain hangs over things. One team that might actually benefit from such a thing could be the New Jersey Nets.
The Nets are spending the season in Newark before moving to Brooklyn. A year off could help new fans forget that the team has been one of the more forgettable franchises in recent years. One little tool that the team isn’t using to help people move on from the recent past is a new name.
Mogul/rapper and minority team owner Jay-Z, a Brooklyn native, announced Monday that the team’s name will stay Nets. His other big announcement, which was made overlooking the under-construction Barclays Center, is that the arena will open in September 2012 with a series of eight concerts by him before the opening tipoff of the Brooklyn Nets season.
The rapper’s announcement came with great fanfare, not to mention a group of enthusiastic youths. Other bigwigs, such as Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz and Forest City Ratner Companies Chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner taking the stage to say glowing things about how great Jay-Z, the Nets, Brooklyn, and, really, everything is right about now. (Nowhere to be seen, though, was the team’s majority owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, one of Russia’s wealthiest men.)
"Brooklyn is where legends are made and dreams come true—and no one proves it more than our very own Jay-Z, a dedicated philanthropist, innovative artist, entrepreneur and cultural icon who, as a Nets investor, helped take my vision of bringing a professional basketball team to the 'center court' of Brooklyn and drove it in for the layup," said Markowitz, according to NBA.com.
The folks on the podium did not mention that area residents are still concerned that the traffic will 100 times more horrendous in the area of the arena than it is now as well as that the developers ended up not needing to provide affordable housing, a sea of jobs, and an attractive Frank Gehry-designed arena, as had originally been talked about when the arena was first announced.
The team will now begin a new marketing campaign that is “mainly targeting the Wall Street area and all of lower Manhattan because of its close accessibility to the Barclays Center,” NBA.com notes.
Advertisements will be found “on 250,000 coffee cups sold in delicatessens and other locations where coffee is sold, 150 taxi tops throughout Manhattan, telephone kiosks strategically located in SoHo and Tribeca, in several print publications, and on a billboard across the street from the Barclays Center site,” the website notes.
The New York Post also reports that Jay-Z will help design the team’s new uniform. After all, the guy cofounded Rocawear. He’s working on the uniforms with Adidas and Nets execs, the paper reports.
The Post points out that the name “Brooklyn” will be in the logo because it has been deemed a strong brand. “Brooklyn will be involved in whatever we do,” said Fred Mangione, chief marketing officer for the Nets and Barclays Center, the Post reports.
Steve Stoute, whose Translation advertising and branding agency (part-owned by Jay-Z) was involved in the decision, told brandchannel that the name was "the obvious choice, the only choice."
The team (briefly) considered taking on the new name the Brooklyn Dodgers, while Markowitz suggested the Brooklyn Bridges and Brooklyn Tudes (for “attitude”). “My main issue was that the team had to have ‘Brooklyn’ in its name, so I’m happy,” Markowitz was quoted by the Post.
Below, Jay-Z announces the Brooklyn Nets name and concert plans: