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Alibaba founder in talks to buy New York arena

Joseph Tsai, who co-founded Alibaba Group with Jack Ma, is reportedly eyeing up Brooklyn's Barclays Center, which this year hosts shows by Iron Maiden and Ariana Grande

By IQ on 01 Apr 2019

Barclays Center, Brooklyn, will welcome fans to an NBA game in February

image © Barclays Center

Joseph Tsai, co-founder and executive vice-chairman of ecommerce giant Alibaba Group, is reportedly in talks to acquire New York City arena Barclays Center.

The 19,000-capacity Barclays Center – home to basketball team Brooklyn Nets, of which Tsai already owns 49% – was 2018’s eighth busiest by ticket sales, according to Pollstar, selling nearly 817,000 tickets. It opened in 2012, and is currently owned by Brooklyn Events Center and operated by AEG Facilities and BSE Global (formerly Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment).

Both Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets have denied rumours of a takeover by Tsai, which was first reported by the New York Post. According to the Post, “a sale to Tsai would be embraced by the NBA [National Basketball Association], which is anxious for him to take control of the Nets so he can help the league grow in China.”

The arena hosted music stars including the Killers, Bruno Mars, Phil Collins and Muse in 2018, with shows by Twenty One Pilots, Ariana Grande and Iron Maiden planned for this summer.

Taiwanese-born Tsai co-founded Alibaba, which turned over nearly US$40 billion in 2018, with Jack Ma in 1999. The Hangzhou-based company dwarfs Amazon and eBay in online sales globally, and has in recent years staked a claim in the music industry, expanding into artist management, booking and entertainment ticketing.


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