The Nets yesterday practiced at Barclays Center for the first time and “raved about the team’s new digs, giving a thumbs-up to just about everything while taking thinly veiled shots at their last home in Newark,” according to Stefan Bondy of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Nets F Kris Humphries said, “Everything is so much bigger and nicer than what we’re used to.” Nets G Deron Williams indicated the arena, unlike the Prudential Center, was "'built for basketball,' meaning the shooting sight lines and depth perception were more suitable." Coach Avery Johnson “talked up the lighting, which shined brightest on the court like it was a Broadway stage.” Johnson said, “The focus and the light is all on the floor.” But he “detailed one small issue: the open entrance to the street allowed sunlight to shine through to the arena, which could become a problem during afternoon games” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/8). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Scott Cacciola writes with black seating throughout and the lighting focused squarely on the court, the arena “creates a stage-like effect for basketball -- similar to Staples Center ... and Madison Square Garden.” The arena also “feels more vertical than horizontal, with the tiers rising at a steep pitch” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/8). In N.Y., Howard Beck writes the “initial reviews were positive.” The stands are “close to the court and rise quickly, giving shooters a close backdrop behind the basket stanchions.” The lower bowl is “mostly free of advertisements and other visual distractions, with a few exceptions.” The scorer’s table at midcourt “flashed a Starbucks logo,” while a baseline display “flashed a promotion for the YES Network.” Johnson said it is a “tight arena” and an “intimate environment." Beck notes the players also were “thrilled with their spacious new locker room, which includes an array of electrical outlets in every locker so they can keep their phones and iPads charged” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/8).
Procter & Gamble has committed $2M to the Reds and the Reds Community Fund’s Urban Youth Academy. The facility will be a baseball and softball training facility in Cincinnati that provides free, year-round instruction for boys and girls ages 6-18 from the Greater Cincinnati area. The complex will include four renovated fields and a 33,000-square-foot building featuring batting cages, pitching tunnels and a full indoor field. Groundbreaking will be next year with project completion expected in '15. The Reds Urban Youth Academy is modeled after MLB academies in Compton, Ca., Houston, Philadelphia and New Orleans (Reds). Reds COO Phil Castellini said that the Reds Urban Youth Academy is "modeled after the Reds' spring training complex in Goodyear, Ariz." In Cincinnati, Lisa Bernard-Kuhn reported more than $1.5M of P&G's commitment "will go toward fund raising for the academy, which will be built in two phases." The remainder "will be used for 'activating' 10 P&G brands at the fan zone in Great American Ball Park: Tide, Charmin, Bounty, Pampers, Cascade, Febreze, Downy, Swiffer, Dawn and Bounce." Castellini said that "aside from marketing displays and signs at the ballpark, P&G will use the fan zone for product samplings, promotions and focus-group questionnaires." P&G VP/North America Marketing & Brand Operations Jodi Allen said that the investment marks P&G’s "largest ever with the Reds," made "possible thanks in large part to The Kroger Co.’s commitment to partner with P&G on an in-store retail plan, also set for 2013" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/7).
ANNOUNCEMENT COMING TOMORROW: In Cincinnati, Dan Monk reports the Reds will announce P&G's expanded sponsorship with "new signs" at tomorrow night's Giants-Reds NLDS Game Three. Retail promos as part of the new five-year deal "will include a 'You Save. They Play' campaign in which donations will be made to the Urban Youth Academy when specific P&G brands are purchased." The campaign will be available at Kroger supermarkets "within a 150-mile radius of Cincinnati." Castellini said that the Reds "have been talking to P&G about expanding sponsorship ties since 2008." Monk notes several P&G brands "have signed mostly one-year deals with the team before now." The new deal comes with "permanent naming rights on the Urban Youth Academy project" (CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER, 10/5 issue).
Georgetown Univ. men’s basketball coach John Thompson III said that the school’s "long awaited on-campus facility has taken a significant step forward in the planning process ... with only a final fund-raising push standing in the way of groundbreaking,” according to Liz Clarke of the WASHINGTON POST. Thompson said, “All the community, zoning and town issues and hurdles -- we are past those. So now it’s just a question of getting the money and putting the shovel in the ground.” Clarke noted the 130,000-square-foot building will be “constructed on the site of existing tennis courts next to McDonough Arena, which was built in 1951” and currently houses Georgetown women's basketball and volleyball. The new facility, estimated to cost $60M, is “designed to alleviate” congestion and “keep Hoyas basketball competitive with its Big East rivals, providing new practice courts, locker rooms and meeting rooms for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.” It also will house a “weight room, academic center, training room and locker rooms for all athletes" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/5). The Georgetown men's basketball team currently plays its home games at Verizon Center (THE DAILY).