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December 22, 2011

Token Mets Owners vs. Nets "Owner" Jay-Z

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

Speaking of Hova's token role...

Today The New York Times, in a tongue-in-cheek (borderline sneering) manner, takes a look at the financially strapped New York Mets' effort to sell off $20 million shares of the team to minority owners who will have no say in the franchise's development but will receive perks such as access to the Mets' mascot Mr. Met and a parking spot at CitiField. For its story The Times obtained a term sheet given by the Mets' owners to prospective partners.

According to The Times a $20 milllion share represents about 4% of the team (our calculations peg it at about 2.6%).

What's this have to do with Atlantic Yards? Well "cultural icon" Jay-Z is a less than 1% owner of the New Jersey Nets, paying roughly $4.5 million for the right to be out front of the team's marketing campaigns. Yet one would believe from the media coverage (including The Times) and the Nets public relations strategy that he owns a substantial portion of the team. Or, as Norman Oder put it in a Salon article, "He's become the face of the franchise, the Teflon-coated superstar employed by his partners to distract attention from the hardball politics, sweetheart deals and private profits behind the arena and the rest of the 16-tower project."

So $20 million to the Mets affords the investor the booby prize of getting to hang with the Mets' mascot. With the Nets, $4.5 million makes you the owner, at least in the eyes of the celebrity-obsessed press.


Posted by eric at December 22, 2011 12:26 PM