Dominion of New York


August 16, 2012

Jay-Z: The Financier of the New Stadium? Or the Figurehead?

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Written by: Kelly Virella

 Jay Z reaches around security to shake a fan's hand after announcing the "Budweiser Made in America" Music Festival, scheduled for September in Philadelphia.

Jay Z reaches around security to shake a fan’s hand after announcing the “Budweiser Made in America” Music Festival, scheduled for September in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Talk Radio News Service


ay-Z might be the man on the microphone and he’s certainly made a lot of money from his various business dealings, but when it comes to the ownership of the new basketball stadium of the Brooklyn Nets and the team itself, he’s not the man.

Contrary to popular belief, Jay-Z is one of dozens of minority owners and his stake is minuscule, according to The New York Times. To visualize how little he owns, you’ll need a magnifying glass. Go get it now.

That’s one-fifteenth of one percent, or 0.0007.

Jay-Z contributed $1 million to the deal nine years ago, according to the Times. So while he lends the team and stadium his image and credibility — leading many Brooklyn residents to believe it belongs mostly to him — his actual ownership stake is pretty small.

Bruce Ratner is the developer who assembled a group of investors to purchase the team and build the stadium, the Times reports. The team’s majority owner is a Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov, who bought 80 percent of it in 2009. Other current and former minority owners include Robert E. Rubin, the former Treasury secretary and Mary Higgins Clark, the best-selling author.

Jay-Z’s minor role in the deal matters to Brooklyn residents who are critics of the stadium, like City Councilwoman Letitia James. Critics charge that the stadium will destroy the fabric of the community and reduce the amount of affordable housing in the neighborhood. “Bringing in someone who grew up in public housing, with a rags-to-riches story, who could identify with Brooklyn and African-Americans, that was slick,” James told the Times.

On the other hand, a lot of Brooklyn residents are happy to have the stadium, the team and the influx of stadium jobs that will come with it. Where do you stand? Do you live near the stadium? Does it matter to you that Jay-Z owns so little?


About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.


Ellen Grossman Jay-Z