Joseph Tsai, a co-founder of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, is set to take full ownership of NBA team the Brooklyn Nets. He already currently owns a 49 percent stake in the team but will be purchasing the remaining 51 percent from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov with the franchise valued at a whopping $2.35 billion, according to the New York Post.
The staggering amount is a new high as far as an amount paid for a sports franchise, topping the $2.2 billion spent by David Tepper for the Carolina Panthers in 2018 and Tillman Fertita’s purchase of the Houston Rockets in (also $2.2 billion) in 2017.
The Nets are set to be the first NBA franchise fully owned by an Asian owner, a sign that the globalization of basketball is the real deal and an undeniable force sweeping the globe. The NBA’s penetration in Asia and China, in particular, has been surging year on year and comes as no surprise that an NBA team has drawn the interest from one of China’s richest men. Tsai’s net worth is estimated at around $9.3 billion, so the price tag was well within his purchasing power.
Over the last couple of seasons, the Nets have established themselves as a solid organization, so much so that they were able to attract marquee free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving over the summer.
While the New York Knicks remain one of pro sports’ most valuable teams, the Brooklyn Nets have earned their place as one of the league’s more respectable and promising franchises.