According to a New York Post report, the Knicks have brought in about $900,000 more than the Nets’ average gate receipts per game. A team headlined by struggling Julius Randle and ascending RJ Barrett at Madison Square Garden was the hotter ticket in town, drawing 18,621 fans per game, which ranked eighth in league attendance. On the other hand, the Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving star power drew 17,354 spectators per game at Barclays Center, good for 13th in league attendance.
Those numbers translated to $3 million per game for the Knicks, a 9 percent jump from the pre-pandemic in the 2018-19 season. But while the Nets lagged with just $2.1 million per game, it was still much better than the pre-Durant-Irving era.
Before Durant and Irving chose Brooklyn over New York’s beloved Knicks, the Nets were only averaging $1 million per game from about 15,000 tickets sold, after giveaways, in the 2018-19 season. That 26-percent improvement represents the biggest bump in the league, which they share with the resurgent Phoenix Suns.
But still, Tsai, who bought the Nets franchise for a record $2.35 billion and the Barclays Center for $1 billion in 2019, is losing money with the second-highest payroll in the league.
Tsai bankrolled the Durant-Irving-Harden and later with unplayable Ben Simmons for a staggering $172,836,362 with an estimated tax bill of $97,731,568 this season. In contrast, despite his Knicks front office going on a spending spree in the last offseason, Dolan had the third-lowest payroll in the league, spending just $120,376,240, avoiding the luxury tax bill.
Now, Tsai and his GM Sean Marks, have a $247.6 million decision, among other things, to make this summer to retain the uber-talented but mercurial Irving.
Meanwhile, Dolan and his team president Leon Rose also have crucial decisions to make on their extension-eligible young core pieces, Mitchell Robinson and RJ Barrett.
Robinson is eligible for a four-year extension maximum of $58 million until June 30 while Barrett can be extended this summer up to five years, $181 million.
If not extended, Robinson will enter unrestricted free agency this July, while Barrett becomes a restricted free agent after next season.
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