Sounds like the Nets might be moving to Newark while they wait out the delayed Atlantic Yards project.
At a preseason game in Newark last night, several team officials said the Nets will leave the Izod Center next year if they can get out of their lease at the Meadowlands, according to the Star-Ledger.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker likes the idea. Fans seem to like it, too: The two preseason games in Newark drew about three times what they would have in East Rutherford, where the team’s been since 1981. Even Russian billionaire and potential owner Mikhail Prokhorov appears to be on board; he sent a contingent from his company, the Onexim Group, and the surrogates were reportedly impressed by the line for tickets.
The Nets can bolt their current lease without incurring an $8 million dollar penalty, as long as they are, in fact, moving to Brooklyn—even if it’s not their next stop. But with the project still up in the air, owner Bruce Ratner is reluctant to make any bold moves for fear of angering New York City officials who might think he’s trying to play both sides of the river against each other.
With the team widely expected to finish somewhere near the bottom of the league, one has to wonder how long the novelty of a Nets game might last—even in Newark.