Lend a name and a face? Sure, Jay-Z will do that--but only if he can make a few savvy business moves of his own.
Celebrity investors, you've been schooled.
Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, whose given name is Shawn Carter, has raised his entrepreneurial career to new heights with his latest project: an investment in the Brooklyn Nets NBA team. He's turned what seems like a rather insignificant investment into a series of savvy business moves, writes The New York Times.
Carter’s overall investment in the Nets in 2009 was $1 million, making his stake in the team next to nothing: one-fifteenth of a percent. Carter stands next to Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who owns 80% of the team) on a Nets promo billboard erected near Madison Square Garden. But he’s been more than just the celebrity face of the project: He's done everything from help design the team's logo to weigh in on decisions that will form the Brooklyn Nets brand as a whole.
“My brands are an extension of me,” Carter told online music magazine idio in 2009 of his business ventures, which include clothing line Rocawear and upscale sports bar The 40/40 Club. “They're close to me. It's not like running GM, where there's no emotional attachment.”
As a result of his continued involvement, Carter has also ensured that Jay-Z bling will decorate the new Nets arena when it opens in September: All executive suites in the arena will offer VIPs pricey Armand de Brignac champagne (a brand Jay endorses and reportedly profits from), there will be a 40/40 Club in the arena, and a Rocawear store at the entrance. The New York Times also reports that Translation, the advertising agency the Nets are using, is half-owned by Carter.
It's a pretty good deal for the Nets, too: Carter will perform eight sold-out shows in the new arena to build hype before opening night. The rapper has even been a pull for certain players to consider Brooklyn as their home team.
“They’re going to take the phone call now,” NBA player agent Aaron Goodwin told The Times of players’ reaction to Carter’s involvement with the Nets. “They’re going to take the flight in. They’re going to listen. In years past, the Nets wouldn’t have gotten that. But now they’re in the game.”
Jay-Z is in the game, too, and he's knows how to make it work for him.
MAEGHAN OUIMET is a business and culture reporter whose work has appeared in Boston Magazine and Rolling Stone. She covers technology start-ups and innovations from the San Francisco bureau for Inc.com. @MaeghanO