Nets, Barclays Center lose big bucks during the 2021-22 season: Report

Kessler Edwards Barclays Center Brooklyn Nets
Fans gather outside prior to the start of the game between the Detroit Pistons and the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center saw losses of $50 million to $100 million combined during the 2021-22 NBA season, according to a new report.

The staggering figures are possibly the worst financial losses in the NBA, the New York Post reported. It’s another blow to owner Joe Tsai and the organization after getting quickly eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Celtics in four games.

While the Nets saw gains in different areas off the court, it still hasn’t been enough to see a dramatic shift in the basketball landscape in New York. The big-spending Tsai will also have to cut a $100 million luxury tax check for this season, which is the second-highest ever in league history.

Brooklyn did see an increase in gate receipts this year, averaging $2.1 million a game. That placed them fourth in the league and was more than a 100% improvement over the $1 million they brought in during the pre-pandemic 2018-19 season, according to the Post.

Additionally, Brooklyn sold 15,000 tickets this year or 26% more than they had in 2018-19. 

Still, the Nets trailed their crosstown rival New York Knicks in both categories and fell short of the NBA’s top gate earners. To break even after spending $174 million on player salaries this past season the Nets would have had to match the Knicks or Golden State Warriors in gate receipts, per the report.

Brooklyn did set attendance and revenue records this season, but the Nets’ parent company will see a change during the offseason with BSE Global CEO John Abbamondi exiting the role in July. It marks the third time that the organization will be looking for a new CEO since Tsai took stewardship of the franchise. 

It has been reported that the decision for Abbamondi to step down is because Tsai “felt Abbamondi was not innovative or data-driven enough.” Both are principles that have made Tsai’s company Alibaba so successful.

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CNBC reported last week that the Nets had identified a candidate to replace Abbamodi.  

Brooklyn has seen a 40% increase in overall revenue since 2018-19, but that was not nearly enough for Tsai. Barclays Center also fell short of its expected non-Nets events at the building. 

There are only projected to be 147 non-Nets events at the building compared to the 194 during the final year before the pandemic. Part of that stemmed from the New York Islanders’ move from Barclays Center to UBS Arena on Long Island, which opened in November, and Tsai had hoped to fill that gap with “higher-margin events” which never occurred, the report stated.