After Joe Tsai purchased half of the Nets from Mikhail Prokhorov in October 2017, he bought the Liberty in January 2019. In September 2019, Tsai bought the other half of the Nets and became the majority owner of the team. In a separate deal, Tsai purchased the Barclay’s Center.
In total, Tsai owns the Brooklyn Nets, the New York Liberty, and the Barclay’s Center. Having the two NY basketball teams that Tsai owns play under the same roof makes a lot of practical sense. Barclays is about to turn into a basketball cathedral.
The New York Liberty previously played at Westchester County Center, in White Plains, NY. The stadium sits 5,000 people. Barclays sit 19,000. If you live in the New York City area, are you going to travel to Westchester to sit in an (I’m sorry) crappy stadium? Going to downtown Brooklyn to sit at an over three times the size stadium is much more appealing. According to the Liberty’s press release, “the move to Barclays Center will expand the capacity to more than 8,000, with opportunity for growth.”
This is a win for the New York Liberty. They get a massive stadium upgrade that will draw significantly more attendance than what they were getting in Westchester. The Liberty was last in the WNBA in attendance last season, significantly below the league average. The Liberty averaged 2,239 compared to the WNBA average of 6,535. With the capacity for 8,000 in downtown Brooklyn, the Liberty are in a much better position to increase their attendance numbers.
There is no conflict of interest with the Brooklyn Nets, as the WNBA and NBA seasons are not scheduled at the same time. Barclays is going to be having live basketball practically year-round, and that’s awesome for Brooklyn. The stadium will be filled with Liberty and Nets decor, which will be a lot of fun for basketball fans.
The Nets and Liberty are drawing buzz for their roster moves. The Nets added Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to a young and talented roster, while the Liberty are rebuilding with the first overall pick in the 2020 WNBA draft. Brooklyn has a lot of fun basketball in store for us for the next few years.