Tuesday December 5, 2023

Nets Owner Adds Lacrosse Team to Portfolio

  • Billionaire Joseph Tsai is adding another team to his growing sports empire.
  • Tsai reached an agreement with the NLL on Wednesday to bring an expansion team to Las Vegas.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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Billionaire Joseph Tsai, owner of the Brooklyn Nets and co-founder of Alibaba, is adding another team to his growing sports empire.

Tsai reached an agreement with the National Lacrosse League on Wednesday to bring an expansion team to Las Vegas. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the price tag should be comparable to that of the NLL’s Saskatchewan Rush franchise, which sold for more than $10 million earlier this month, according to Sportico. 

Tsai bought a 49% controlling interest in the Nets for $1 billion in 2017. Two years later, he acquired the remaining 51% from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov in a sale reportedly valued at $2.35 billion, which is a record price for a sports franchise. 

He is now the 10th-richest sports team owner in the world with a net worth of $11.6 billion, per Forbes.

Despite being mostly known as an NBA owner, the 57-year-old Tsai has an impressive professional sports portfolio:

  • Purchased the NLL’s San Diego Seals in 2017 for a reported $5 million.
  • Lead investor in the startup Premier Lacrosse League. It debuted in 2019 and will broadcast its 2021 season on Peacock. 
  • Acquired the WNBA’s New York Liberty in 2019 for a reported $10-$14 million.
  • Investor in Los Angeles FC, which has a valuation of over $700 million, the highest ever for an MLS club.

Las Vegas continues to be a red-hot destination for professional franchises, as seen with the addition of the NHL’s Golden Knights in 2017 and the NFL’s Raiders last year. MLB’s Oakland Athletics are also considering a relocation to the city.

Tsai’s expansion team will make its Vegas debut as the NLL’s 15th franchise in the 2022-23 season.

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