We can all agree that the Brooklyn Nets 2013-14 season was a strange one. The Pierce/Garnett experiment, the return of a favorite son in Jason Kidd, the loss of Brook Lopez, that crazy small—big-ball second half, a memorable first-round playoff series win, and an ignominious second round playoff exit.
A constant throughout was Barclays Center and the 17,251 people (on average) who saw the Nets play there… and the almost-commonplace mutterings of ‘huh, this Brooklyn crowd isn’t as crazy as you’d expect’.
And you know what’s amazing? The Nets came in 17th in the NBA last year for attendance. To put that into perspective, the terrible ’13-’14 Cavs squad, who regularly started Alonzo Gee at small forward — came in 16th. 16th!
Why is that? When they moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn, the Nets opened up unprecedented levels of fan exposure; suddenly NYC residents from each of the boroughs could jump a subway and get to a game. Tourists who didn’t want to fork out mega bucks for a ticket to see last year’s execrable Knicks squad could just as easily get to Brooklyn and watch the NBA in an arena that’s not as steeped in history, but brims with potential.
A big problem, one that bugged me as season ticket holder, was not so much the product on the floor (even if that Christmas Day game against the Bulls made me want to burn down our tree and steal the presents of every kid in our building), but how their in-arena experience was, at times, about as creative as a Nicole Scherzinger single.
The Nets organization and Barclays worked on some of the problems throughout the year, and when the building is jumping, it’s electric. But too often the Nets, with one of the slickest color schemes in the league and an all things Brooklyn ethos to get behind, were as cool as the guy hassling the DJ to play “an Eve 6 throwback tune, bro”.
So what the Nets need to do is focus on making the Nets fan-going experience something everyone in New York City should be wanting to be a part of, something tourists hear about and go ‘man, we’ve got to see the Nets, I hear their games are awesome fun’. As such, having sat through 44 home games last season, here are some simple observations about how the team can make a Nets game a must-go experience.