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Volume 22 No. 44
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Pride of Brooklyn: Golden Boy deal to put fights at Barclays

Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment has signed a three-year deal with Golden Boy Promotions to book 12 fight events annually at Barclays Center, the New Jersey Nets’ new arena targeted to open in mid-2012.

The two groups formed the partnership to develop young Brooklyn boxers and build a relationship between those athletes and the public, said Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. Together, they have committed to showcasing a wide range of talent, stretching from amateur bouts to championship fights televised on HBO and Showtime.

The key to making the partnership a success is scheduling boxing matches with greater regularity in New York and on the East Coast in general, a region that’s been hit-and-miss for securing signature fights, according to Schaefer.

“There may be two to three per year at Madison Square Garden, but it’s sporadic,” Schaefer said. “We are taking a systematic approach in building a base in Brooklyn. The talent is there.”

The Brooklyn deal is loosely modeled after what Golden Boy has done in Los Angeles at three facilities owned and operated by AEG, the largest shareholder in Golden Boy outside of principal owner Oscar De La Hoya.

Golden Boy promotes monthly fights on Friday nights at Club Nokia, a 2,000-seat venue at L.A. Live across the street from Staples Center. Those four- to six-round bouts have DJs playing music between rounds and Hollywood celebrities walking a red carpet, a complete experience for fight fans.

The 7,000-seat Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live provides a steppingstone for fighters as they gain experience and develop a following before competing at Staples Center, where Golden Boy promotes 70 percent of the arena’s boxing matches.

“The last 12 months, we have used all three venues very effectively,” Schaefer said.

In Brooklyn, with just Barclays Center to work with, up-and-coming fighters would most likely compete in a scaled-down arena, Schaefer said. It helps that the 18,500-seat facility, designed by Ellerbe Becket and SHoP Architects, has an extremely tight seating bowl that’s perfect for boxing, he said.

For Brooklyn Sports, part of the New Jersey Nets’ organization, the guaranteed dates bolster the group’s effort to market premium seats at Barclays Center. In March, the Nets announced a deal with IMG College to bring in top college basketball games every year.

“We continue to sell suites, and [prospective buyers] want to know what else is going to be in there besides the Nets,” said Brett Yormark, president and CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment.

 OFFICERS CLUB: The U.S. Military Academy has sold out its new 400-capacity premium club in Michie Stadium, as Army meets demand for football hospitality.

Army showed off its new premium club at its
spring game.

The Kimsey Club, a redecorated 12,000-square-foot space, takes up most of the fourth floor of the Kimsey Athletic Center in the stadium’s south end zone. Club members pay an annual $150 fee in addition to their $150 season tickets. There are no multiyear commitments.

Club amenities include complimentary food and drink, a cash bar, high-definition televisions and tables seating eight to 10 people. Members can hang out in the club after kickoff and watch the game from indoors, said Athletic Director Kevin Anderson.

Army officials expect the new club to generate net income of $50,000 to $75,000 after spending $10,000 to $15,000 to convert the fourth level to more of a club-style atmosphere, Anderson said.

The club makes better use of a space previously reserved for the athletic director’s tailgate party and some private functions. The tailgate party moves to the Foley Athletic Center, Army football’s indoor practice facility.

The club and the end zone building are named for AOL founder James Kimsey, a 1967 West Point graduate and a major donor to the athletic department.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.