Rapper and entrepreneur Shawn Carter a.k.a. Jay-Z has invested in part of the New Jersey Nets, and now, actor Will Smith has become part owner of his hometown team: the Philadelphia 76ers.
With two teams that have yet to really become a force in the NBA, which owner -- Smith or Carter -- will be more likely to prosper from their team?
In the Sixers case, the new CEO Adam Aron announced several changes to ticket pricing that will make going to games more affordable.
Aron said that going forward, ticket prices will be slashed on individual game tickets on just under 9,000 seats at the Wells Fargo Center for each and every Sixers home game. Tickets that cost $101 and $54 have dropped to $54 and $29 respectively. Even some mezzanine bowl tickets will be reduced to $20, decreasing from $45 last season.
Price will not be an obstacle in preventing Philadelphia sports fans from being able to enjoy NBA basketball in person, Aron said in a press conference Tuesday. Our house is now your house.
The Sixers have also launched the Web site NewSixersOwner.com to solicit fan feedback and encourage the team's fan base. You can bet fans will also be reaching out to Smith.
Tell us about our players, our web site, our scoreboard graphics or anything big or small that you have noticed and want to relay directly to our new ownershp group, Web site noted. If you have an observation about any aspect of the Sixers, we want to hear it. So send us your thoughts! Whether in five words, five sentences or five pages, let us hear from you.
The 76ers are coming of a 41-41 season, where Andre Iguodala was their main attraction. Trade talk about Iguodala being traded, most notably to the Los Angeles Lakers, swirled before the trade deadline last season. He averaged 14.1 points, 6.3 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game.
The Sixers have some young pieces that could potentially draw some crowds in the future, such as Evan Turner, Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young. But, for more revenue to come in and Will Smith to get richer, the Sixers have to do better than last year's playoff appearance as the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets will definitely have to do far better in the next few years if Jay-Z hopes to gain more from his stake.
To make the culture a little less gloomy, Jay-Z will play a series of eight shows, the first concert series at the new Brooklyn Nets arena, the Barclays Center, in fall 2012. The arena's official open date is Sept. 28, 2012.
The Nets will start the 2012-2013season with plenty of luxury. All-access season passes are being sold for as much as $15,400 per season. Non-premium season tickets for the Barclays Center will be implemented in different phases in 2011. What you can expect is that 2,000 tickets will be priced at $15 and under for each game and an allotment of tickets for all events at the Barclays Center will be made available to the community, which was committed to in the Community Benefits Agreement of 2005.
Jay-Z, who owns a 1.7 percent stake in the Nets, will be the face of a huge marketing campaign, which includes distributing coffee cups to local stores and placing billboard ads throughout New York, along with telephone booth ads and ad placements on top of taxis.
The Nets finished last season 24-58. With a new home to play in and new city to play for, the Nets are looking to rebound after four consecutive losing seasons, including their abysmal 12-win season just two seasons ago. Despite the recent woes, however, there are bright spots: superstar point guard Deron Williams and center Brook Lopez lend some stability to a roster that has seen a wave of different faces in recent years.
Nevertheless, it will be tough for the Nets to step out of the shadow of the up and coming New York Knicks, who play in arguably the most popular city at the most popular arena -- Madison Square Garden in Manhattan -- on the rise, thanks to the likenesses of forwards Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.
Both owners, Will Smith and Jay-Z, have the pieces in place and are sure to be involved with the marketability of their team. Considering recent past history and the teams each are a part of, Will Smith seems to have the immediate upper hand. Tickets will be affordable and the team from A to Z is more talented overall. Nevertheless, Jay-Z, having his team in New York, can still benefit monetarily just as much as Will Smith could.
Both the Sixers and the Nets compete in the Atlantic division of the Eastern Conference, so once the lockout ends, the battle will be on.