SBD/September 28, 2012/Facilities

Brooklyn Go Hard: Much Fanfare Expected For Barclays Center's Opening Event

Jay-Z will christen the Barclays Center by hosting eight sold-out concerts in nine days
Rapper Jay-Z Friday night will play the first of "eight sold-out concerts in nine days" to open Barclays Center, the 675,000-square-foot arena in Brooklyn that "loosely resembles a spaceship with a rusty-looking facade," according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY. Barclays Center developer and Nets Minority Owner Bruce Ratner said of the arena's opening, "It's a pinch-me moment like I can't believe. It was a long, difficult 10 years." Zillgitt notes the rusty look "is by design, using weathered steel on the outside of the building, a pre-emptive move aimed at slowing corrosion." Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said, "We wanted to be true to the brand, and it is. It's dark; it's gritty; it's bold. It very much spoke to Brooklyn." The venue will host a total of "about 220 events a year." There also are "101 luxury suites, but those are surpassed by 11 ultra-exclusive, high-end Jay-Z inspired suites called The Vault." NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver said, "It exceeded my expectations, which were already high. I love the fact that it's designed as a basketball-centric arena. There's an elegance to the building, yet it has very much an urban feel as if it belongs in Brooklyn" (USA TODAY, 9/28). USA TODAY's Scott Gleeson notes Barclays Center staffers "made it a priority to cater to the next-generation fan." The arena features "high-tech amenities that include Cisco's 'Connection Stadium' free Wi-Fi for consistent and reliable connectivity, with 275 access points to support a packed house." The addition of "reliable in-house Wi-Fi is expected to free cellular networks for more reliable phone calls and text messages." The arena also will have a "custom phone app that will provide a variety of content." Cisco's "Stadium Vision" will "power 700 HDTVs showing replays and about 100 concession menu boards" (USA TODAY, 9/28).

NEW MUSIC SCENE: In N.Y., James McKinley Jr. writes the performance space at Barclays Center "will fundamentally transform the music scene in New York City." The arena's opening "is being closely watched in the music business, and perhaps nowhere more so than in Manhattan, at Madison Square Garden, which for generations has been the only game in town for arena acts and has earned a reputation as a career-defining concert hall." Concert promoters and booking agents said that such competition "is inevitable, and Barclays has already positioned itself as an alternative, booking several marquee performers who have played the Garden in the past." Playing host to three professional sports teams and St. John's Univ. basketball, MSG's calendar "has long been extremely crowded," and it has become "even tighter over the last two years as it has undergone renovations." AEG Live President & CEO Randy Phillips said, "I consider it a godsend Barclays arena is there. Prior to this we were really kind of held hostage on a tour to the availability of Madison Square Garden" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/28).

DOING BIG BUSINESS: In N.Y., Rich Calder writes the "much-hyped opening" of Barclays Center is "opening the floodgates to a slew of new high-end eateries, sports bars, apartment towers and retail shops." More than "a dozen other new eateries are also in the works within three square blocks of the arena" (N.Y. POST, 9/28).
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