As the Nets prepare to play their first regular-season home game at Barclays Center on Thursday against the Knicks, many publications are looking at the opening of the building and its impact on Brooklyn. The N.Y. DAILY NEWS produced an extensive special section yesterday and Jason Sheftell called the arena “as smooth an addition to a cityscape as they come.” The arena is “filled with private lounges, wide public concourses, seven retail spaces, and a weathered steel façade that intrigues passers-by enough to come up and touch it.” The inside is "as intriguing as outside.” The public concourse is “one area where Barclays outshines all others.” The space is “wide open.” The terrazzo marble floors “feel like being in an upscale condominium,” and the entire hallway “curves as you walk by local Brooklyn food vendors.” Developer Forest City Ratner Exec VP MaryAnne Gilmartin said that "black was the seat color from the get-go.” Gilmartin: "We wanted to make an impression -- a strong impression. You look at other arenas and they have multiple color schemes based on seat levels and it looks all wrong and unattractive. Also, I'm not going to lie, you can tell when an arena is empty. No one knows how good the team is going to be and we don't want the space to ever look empty. We even thought about designing seats that look like they have people in them." Sheftell noted angled down from the top of the arena, the seats look “right out of a scene from ‘The Matrix.’” But the lighting “gives the Barclays Center a spiritual feel" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/28). This week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL reviews the building and sits in on a staff briefing after one of the building's early preseason games (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/28 issue).
MINORITY REPORT: In N.Y., Denis Hamill wrote under the header, “Barclays Center: The House That Bruce Ratner Built” and followed Ratner around during the Barbra Streisand concert earlier this month. Ratner: "I can't allow another screw up like what happened with the Globetrotters. … We do research and the Globetrotters never sell more than 6,000 seats to a show. So we staffed the arena for that kind of crowd at the box office, at the concessions, inside the arena." But when the Globetrotters “dribbled into Barclays 10,000 fans put a full-court press at the front gates.” Ratner: "We were just caught off guard. We didn't have the staff to print tickets fast enough, usher people to seats, and sell food and beverages. We didn't have enough magnetometers. I went crazy.” The show “went off two hours late but the people waited and Ratner promised himself that it would never happen again.” Ratner added, "I am mortified the way people had to wait. But you live and learn. This is Brooklyn. Expect the unexpected.” Arena officials "expected the biggest crowd yet for Streisand” with her Oct. 13 concert. Ratner: “I think this place is going to be a good fit for Brooklyn. It will not change Brooklyn. Only people can do that. But it will become part of its fabric” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/28). Also in the section, Patty Lee looked at the food options under the subhead, “From Cobble Hill To Sunset Park, The Barclays Center Offers Food From Original Brooklyn Neighborhood Restaurants” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/28).
HOTTER TICKETS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Stu Woo cited data from search engine SeatGeek.com that shows the Nets at the Prudential Center last season were “so unpopular that tickets to 20 of their 33 games cost just $1.” The cheapest ticket available as of last Friday for the Knicks-Nets game on Thursday “was $220,” while the “average price was around $423.” For that amount, a Nets fan “could have gone to every home game last year -- and brought a few friends along” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/27).
SWITCHING FOCUS: The AP’s Nataliya Vasilyeva reported Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov “announced that he's leaving business to focus full-time on politics, returning to the political arena after remaining silent through a five-month Kremlin crackdown on the opposition.” Prokhorov said that he “wants to lead ‘a third power’" in Russia (AP, 10/28).