Of Course The Nets' Russian Billionaire Owner Signed Stolichnaya Vodka As His First Big Sponsor

Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the New Jersey Nets

In May, Mikhail Prokhorov became the majority owner of the New Jersey Nets. During an interview with Forbes Russia in August, Prokhorov said he had three plans. Plan A included signing a big star (nyet). Plan B is to build the franchise slowly over a five-year period (I assume this translates to: “hope free agents prefer Brooklyn over Newark”). And Plan C is what Prokhorov called “an element of surprise from Russia.”

Plan C apparently included liquor. Five months after Prokhorov took over, the Nets made their first major move. They signed a sponsor. And the sponsor is from Russia, of course

Stolichnaya signed a five-year accord to become the official vodka of the Barclays centre, which will be the home of the Russian-owned New Jersey Nets from 2012…Stolichnaya, owned by the Moscow-based SPI Group, will have exclusive branding around the Brooklyn facility and in the arena’s six bars, an e-mailed statement from Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment said yesterday. Financial terms weren’t disclosed…”This partnership represents Stoli’s first long-term foray into professional sports,” said Andrey Skurikhin, a partner at SPI Group.

Vodka? That seems fitting for a team that won 12 games in 2009-10. And the fans will need plenty of it if after The Big Tease, better known as almost trading for Carmelo Anthony.

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