The Brooklyn Nets are dead last in the NBA when it comes to season ticket sales — with demand off more than 30% from last year as the new season tips off, sources told The Post.
For the 2022-23 campaign, billionaire Joe Tsai’s money-losing franchise had sold roughly 5,500 season tickets at the 17,732-seat Barclays Center, according to an NBA owner and an insider who both saw a recent confidential league report.
That’s well below last year’s total — which insiders estimated between 8,000 and 9,000 — and lands the Nets in last place among the NBA’s 30 teams, according to league insiders.
The Nets declined comment. A source close to the team didn’t dispute the league-worst season ticket figures but said the club relies less on those sales to fill the Barclays Center than team’s in other markets.
The Nets’ revenue from the 2022-23 season ticket sales ranks in the middle of the pack because Brooklyn charges more than smaller-market teams, an NBA team owner told The Post.
“They do not focus on season tickets as much as others because they believe they can make more on same-day tickets,” another source said.
“But it is still core to their business and represents most ticket sales.”
The Nets have chased away many loyal fans after jacking up prices on some seats by more than 50% for the team’s 41 home games at Barclays Center, multiple sources told The Post.
Last season, single-game sales buttressed the season ticket total to help the Nets finish 10th in average paid attendance, according to NBA confidential financials obtained by The Post — not far behind crosstown rival Knicks. The Nets drew 14,919 per game, a 26.3% spike from the previous non-pandemic year, generating $2.15 million in average net gate receipts, a 108.5% increase year-over-year, according to the data.
Despite last season’s soaring attendance, the Nets and Barclays Center lost between $50 million and $100 million, The Post reported exclusively, among the worst in the league.
The team suffered through a tumultuous season and barely made the playoffs, yet Tsai raised season ticket prices for 2022-23 before the postseason began — only to see his team flame out in the first round despite having the third-highest payroll in the NBA.
After being swept by the Boston Celtics in four games, the Nets lowered prices in the summer for some long-term season ticket holders, sources told The Post.
But their shot to retain stout supporters seems to have been an airball.
A season ticket holder who gave up two prime courtside seats told The Post the $3,500 per ticket he had been paying in his three-year expiring contract skyrocketed to $5,400, a 54% jump. Over the course of 41 home games, the new plan would have cost $221,400 per ticket.
Tack on another $200,000 per playoff ticket if the Nets make it to the NBA Finals and the “two tickets are almost $1 million,” said the fan, requesting anonymity.
“I couldn’t justify the price they wanted,” he said, adding that he has been a season ticket holder since the 1990s. “We know three or four other season ticket holders who did not renew. One said he would rather give money to Ukraine than give the Nets extra money.”
Overall, last season’s average ticket prices were 66% higher compared to the last non-pandemic year. Tsai, who has an estimated net worth of $8 billion, bought the Nets from Russian mogul Mikhail Prokhorov in 2020. The co-founder and chief executive of China e-retail giant Alibaba paid $2.35 billion for the team and another $1 billion for the license to operate the arena.
The Nets entered this season with a $190.5 million payroll – behind only the LA Clippers ($199.2 million) and NBA champion Golden State Warriors ($196.2 million) – putting them over the NBA salary cap and Tsai’s deep pockets on the hook for $108 million in luxury tax.
The star-studded roster featuring Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons packed Barclays Center to capacity for Wednesday’s season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Nets were routed 130-108 and during the broadcast on YES, there were several TV ads pushing season ticket plans.
On Friday, the Nets hosted their second game and again sold out thanks to late single-game ticket sales.
A former NBA owner said the Nets’ soap opera away from the hardwood before the season started played a role in suppressing season ticket sales.
Durant demanded Tsai either fire Coach Steve Nash and General Manager Sean Marks or trade the 33-year-old forward. Tsai held firm against Durant’s ultimatum and the star caved on Aug. 23, deigning to honor the nearly $200 million, four-year contract extension he signed in 2021.
Fans showed their displeasure during the Nets’ annual Practice in the Park on Oct. 9. Some 8,000 team loyalists booed Nash and gave Durant a lukewarm reception.
“I know that it took up most of the offseason and drama sells, I get that; but I didn’t miss any games, I didn’t miss any practices. I’m still here. So hopefully we can move past that,” Durant said before the start of the season.
Irving’s future with the team was also in doubt. The all-star guard sat out almost all home games last season because he refused to get the COVID vaccine — violating the city’s mandate. He remains unvaccinated but the city has lifted the restrictions.
Irving admitted the past summer was sloppy.
“It was kind of a clusterf–k,” he said.
The ex-owner said it’s wiser to wait to see how the Nets get out of the gate instead of purchasing season tickets and risk getting stuck with them if the team implodes.
“I don’t think fans like off-the-court drama with their teams,” the former owner said.
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