SBD/April 24, 2012/Franchises

Nets' Yormark Discusses Time In Newark, Future For NBA At Prudential Center

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Yorkmark said Prudential Center was a good landlord, treated Nets "like partners"
The Nets last night played their final game in New Jersey before their move to the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the Newark STAR-LEDGER’s Dave D’Alessandro writes a “better way to demonstrate the folly of another NBA-Newark partnership” is by talking to Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. D’Alessandro “thought it was a good time for an exit interview” with Yormark. The following is an excerpt from the Q&A:

Q: So what did you learn about the differences between the Meadowlands and Newark these past two years?
Yormark: Nineteen percent of our fans used rail in the last year and a half, so (Newark) was much more accessible than Izod [Center], which was all about ‘appointment viewing.’ That wasn’t the case with Prudential -- you could be spontaneous and go the day of the game and buy a ticket.

Q: So was [Prudential Center] a good landlord?
Yormark: Yeah, they were a pretty good landlord. Listen, you always have disagreements. It’s part of any relationship. But for the most part, they were accommodating -- and it’s not easy to be accommodating when you know someone is coming in on a short-term basis. Despite that, they treated us like partners.

Q: Attendance was flat despite higher expectations with Deron Williams; was that a case of being a lame duck?
Yormark: Well, we had a 10 percent increase last year in tickets sold. Had we stayed at Izod, nobody knows how many would have renewed, so any uptick -- given the team’s performance and the fact that this was a lame-duck franchise -- was a positive.

Q: Under what circumstances can you see Newark and [Prudential Center] as viable homes for an NBA team?
Yormark: To be viable in New Jersey, you have to have a great product, and you have to market it creatively. But I sincerely doubt you can be a tenant in the building. You have to be a partner. Only then do you have a shot.

Q: Is there even a market that could sustain three teams from the same sport?
Yormark: There are nine pro teams [in the N.Y. market] -- so much entertainment to share a consumer’s mind-set, it’s very hard to break through and be relevant and get fans to commit. I think we have chance where we’re going (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 4/24).
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