MOSCOW, August 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian flagship air carrier Aeroflot announced on Thursday it decided against extending its sponsorship contract with US National Basketball Association’s (NBA) club Brooklyn Nets, owned by Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov.
“The contract with Brooklyn (Nets) has expired,” a spokesman for Aeroflot told ITAR-TASS. “We are not planning to sign a new agreement.”
“In any case, there is no Aeroflot’s decision at the moment to extend the contract with Brooklyn,” a spokesman for Aeroflot, has been a Nets sponsor since 2010, added.
Extending the sponsorship contract with the NBA club last year, Aeroflot said it was done to promote the image of the airline in the United States.
"The decision comes from the fact that the sponsorship of one of the most famous American sports clubs will strengthen the image of the airline, as well as facilitate its penetration of the US market with the popular American brand, increase brand loyalty to Aeroflot and increase the number of potential customers among the many basketball fans," NetsDaily.com quoted Aeroflot’s spokesman as saying at that time.
Russian billionaire and former presidential candidate Prokhorov repeatedly stated reiterated his intention of transferring assets of NBA’s Brooklyn Nets under the Russian jurisdiction.
He said earlier this year that the transition of the basketball club would offer “an outstanding opportunity to use NBA technologies for the systematic development of basketball in Russia.”
The 49-year-old billionaire bought the then New Jersey Nets in 2010 for $200 million and later relocated the club to Brooklyn, which has a large Russian population.
Brooklyn Nets started the 2013/2014 season with a poor performance but managed to come back and finished it in the 6th in its Eastern Conference standings with 44 wins and 38 defeats. The club finished the 2012/2013 season with a record of 49 wins and 33 defeats, the second-best record in the Atlantic Division.
According to an earlier report from The New York Daily News, bachelor Prokhorov pledged that the team would win the NBA championship by 2015 or he would punish himself by getting married.