Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter made a splash in the news after being named as one of the many investors in developer Bruce Ratner’s plans to acquire the New Jersey Nets and move the team to the rapper’s native Brooklyn. Although Hov’s ownership stake is considerably small, his brand and the impact felt throughout the organization is far more valuable than imagined, reports the New York Times.
Nine years ago, Jay-Z joined an investment group and poured in $1 million dollars – equaling into a relatively small percentage of the team ownership. That hasn’t stopped Jay-Z from being the team’s best ambassador, involving himself in a variety of operations behind the scenes on behalf of the Brooklyn Nets. Along with helping with the team logo design and uniform color scheme, Jay-Z also instructed Barclays Center area officials on which music to play during contests. Using his influence and employing his knowledge of what trends are currently moving, he’s even managed to get the team to drop arena-rocking favorites such as Bon Jovi in favor of acts like Santigold (who is signed to Roc Nation, by the way).
Although majority owner Mikhail D. Prokhorov has gained a lot out of the publicity, Jay-Z is enjoying a few perks as well. He has rights to one of the exclusive “Vault” suites billed at $550,000 per year. Armand de Brignac, a champagne that Jay has financial stake in, will be served in bars inside the suites. The rapper’s sports bar-nightclub 40/40 will have a location at the arena, as well as a Rocawear store that will be opened on the grounds. Jay-Z’s agency Translation will also be handling the arena’s advertising business. Even video game giants Visual Concepts have tapped into Jay’s sudden hoops fame, making him the executive producer for the latest in its NBA 2K franchise for the 2013 version.
While Ratner was initially wary at first in working with Jay-Z, the team touts him as a vital cog in the Brooklyn Nets machine and has even boldly featured him next to Prokhorov in a massive billboard with Jay getting top billing. The developer has certainly come around, gushing about the work Jay-Z has done on behalf of the team. “He is it,” Ratner said in an interview with the Times. “He is us. He is how people are going to see that place.”
Jay-Z has certainly come a long way from Marcy Houses projects, a point proven by his business savvy and ability to make epic moves in arenas outside of music.
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