SBD/October 31, 2012/NBA Season Preview

Knicks-Nets Regular Season Opener To Be Played As Scheduled In Wake Of Sandy

Sandy caused the shutdown of subways and other public transportation in N.Y.
The "highly anticipated" Knicks-Nets regular-season opener tomorrow night at Barclays Center "will be played as scheduled, despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy," according to Mazzeo & Begley of ESPN N.Y. NBA Senior VP/Basketball Communications Tim Frank yesterday afternoon wrote on his Twitter feed that the league is "assessing the situation." But Frank in an e-mail later in the day wrote that the game "would go on as scheduled." A Nets spokesperson yesterday confirmed that the arena "didn't sustain any damage" from Hurricane Sandy, but that the storm "forced the shutdown of public transportation throughout the tri-state area." This is "problematic because fans traveling to the Barclays Center are expected to rely heavily on public transportation." If fans instead choose to drive to the game, it "could cause major traffic headaches in the area surrounding the arena, which is ill-suited for heavy traffic" (ESPNNY.com, 10/30). In N.Y., Tim Bontemps writes the question now "becomes how many fans will be able to make the trip to attend the game." Getting to the arena via public transit is "likely to be extremely difficult, if not impossible" (N.Y. POST, 10/31). Also in N.Y., Howard Beck notes the NBA has "postponed 11 regular-season games since 2000, mostly because of severe weather and weather-related travel problems." But league officials have "set a high bar for what warrants a postponement." As a general rule, they will "allow a game to proceed as long as both teams and the referees can safely reach the arena, even if the game is played before only a few thousand fans" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/31).

CANCELLING THEIR PLANS: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand notes TNT "scrapped plans for its studio show to be on-site" for tomorrow night's Knicks-Nets game as the NBA "assessed whether that game could be staged given local hurricane damage." Turner Sports VP/Communications Nate Smeltz said, "We are planning to televise the game as scheduled." However, the pregame show "will stay in its Atlanta studio" (USA TODAY, 10/31).
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