Back when Mikhail Prokhorov bought the Brooklyn Nets in 2010, many casual NBA followers were rubbing their hands together at the possibility of a feisty ongoing battle for prominence between the long-standing New York Knicks and their newly relocated neighbors.
Prokhorov said at the time that the organization will ‘turn Knick fans into Nets fans’, but in an interview this week on Real-World Branding with Bill Gullan, Elisa Padilla made it clear that the idea was never to ‘take over’ New York.
According to Padilla, the intention was always to capitalize on the interest in Brooklyn and establish a loyal fan-base.
“From the beginning, our mindset wasn’t to come into Brooklyn and convert Knicks fans,” Padilla said. “That wasn’t on our radar. We had been very respectful, when you look at us on the map and you look at the 75-mile radius. We have been very respectful. We will not do any marketing above 14th Street in Manhattan. We want to be respectful of our neighbors. At the end of the day, there are 2.6 million people in Brooklyn. I think that there’s enough this year that we can fill up a 17,000 plus arena.
For us, we want to be very authentic. We are the new kids on the block. In no shape or form, do we walk around with rose colored glasses, thinking that we want to compete with a legacy brand like the Knicks – and on the Barclays Center, like Madison Square Garden. That’s not our approach. We want to develop a really authentic relationship, if you will, with our fans and with our guests at Barclays Center.”
Whilst Prokhorov’s statement created quite a buzz at the time, it appears that it was just competitive fighting-talk.