Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce (AP)

Thank you for your continued support of The Brooklyn Game. Here's some Nets news and notes from around the 'net:
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AP

AP

Three black owners of a luxury box suite at Barclays Center have filed a lawsuit against the arena for $4 million, claiming that they've been subject to racism from staff since purchasing the box, according to the New York Post.

Glen DeFreitas, Sean Scarborough, and Jermaine Pratt, of Ludwig's Pharmacy in Prospect Heights, purchased rights to the suite for three years at a cost of roughly $1 million this October.

The suit claims that the three are the only black luxury box owners at Barclays Center and "have been subject to adverse treatment because of their race."

From the Post:
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Want an opportunity to ask Deron Williams what's going on with his ankle or see Brook Lopez practice half-court shots? Today may be your shot. The Brooklyn Nets will host an open practice today at Barclays Center at 2 P.M., sponsored by Outlook. The new-look Nets have hosted a few preseason games already at Barclays Center, but now they'll showcase their talents against each other for you.

This is the second year the Nets have held an open practice at Barclays Center; they held them annually in New Jersey (most, if not all, teams do the same thing in preseason).

Tickets are not available online as it's the day-of-event, but if you call Barclays Center or show up, there should be tickets available.

 

In a deal that will be announced later this week, CBS Radio has bought the rights to a multi-event Barclays Center package that includes all Brooklyn Nets games, college games, boxing matches, and more. Along with carrying the games (CBS has carried Nets games since 2004), the deal gives CBS the rights to co-produce and co-promote events with Barclays Center, sharing the revenue.

"We are thrilled to continue airing Nets games on WFAN-AM/FM and expanding team coverage throughout the season, but we are just as excited about the opportunity of broadcasting other prominent events from Barclays Center, including select concerts, major college basketball and big time boxing, which will re-ignite a popular New York pastime," Nets & Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said in a prepared statement.

The deal, reportedly four years at roughly $5 million per year, is the first of its kind. From the Sports Business Journal:

In addition to the broadcast deal, the sides have a revenue share on new business development and potential to create new revenue streams, so company executives say they are reticent to peg a number to the deal.

“If you took on the total top line, it would be far in excess of what a straight rights deal would be,” Mason said. “With a straight rights deal, you’re only talking about the sale of advertising from games on the radio. Now you’re talking about concerts. You’re talking about special events. There are fun things you could do.”

The deal includes college basketball games from Barclays Center that are produced as part of the Brooklyn Hoops presented by Ticketmaster franchise and boxing matches as part of the Brooklyn Boxing powered by Golden Boy Promotions franchise.

The two also plan to create concerts, as well as other events, ranging from something like a Taste of Brooklyn to a dog show. The two companies would act as co-promoters on these types of events and share the revenue.

CBS recently signed the Yankees to a ten-year deal worth $150 million and their $7 million contract with the Mets expires this year, so from an outsider's standpoint, $5 million per annum seems a bit low for the rights to this much of Barclays Center's promotions. (It's also worth noting that the $5 million figure is unofficial and could be incorrect.)

For you mid-day listeners, the Joe & Evan show -- run by Joe Benigno and friend of The Brooklyn Game Evan Roberts -- will now include a weekly "Brooklyn Nets Report" segment, surely to Evan's delight.

Sports Business Journal -- CBS Radio-Nets deal far more than rights

 

SecureWatch24, a Manhattan-based specialty security company, has bought the rights to become the Brooklyn Nets "presenting sponsor," meaning that all Brooklyn Nets advertising and signage will be brought to you by SW24. The team signed a five-year deal with the company, according to the New York Post:

The corporate sponsorship allows SW24 to piggyback on all Nets-controlled marketing, including ads, billboards and in-arena signage.

Most visible will be the security company’s logo on courtside and baseline signage during home games at Barclays Center.

“Where you see us, you’ll see them,” Nets CEO Brett Yormark told The Post.

The Nets declined to comment on the financial terms but similar NBA presentation contracts run around $1 million a year.

New York Post -- Brooklyn Nets land key sponsor deal

 

The New York Islanders will move to Brooklyn's Barclays Center following next season, which means a few structural changes for the arena. The above photo, which was tweeted and Instagrammed out by Barclays Center, shows how the layout will look for a hockey rink.

As you can probably tell, it's a little off. Barclays Center was not built for hockey, it was built for basketball; the rink (much larger than an NBA court) is off-center in the arena, so much so that there are no seats behind the net stage left. The scoreboard is also off-center as a result.

The arena will fit 14,500 fans for hockey games, making it the smallest arena in terms of attendance in the NHL.

Still: beats Nassau!

 

Imagine this scenario: Down by two points in the final moments of an important basketball game in Brooklyn, Deron Williams penetrates the lane and kicks to a wide open Mirza Teletovic who fires off a shot at the buzzer! Somehow, it goes in! Pandemonium! Nets win by one!

As everyone files out of the Barclays Center, there's loud, frantic chatter. An audible buzzer races throughout the area, everybody is so excited and pumped-- if only there was somewhere right nearby where they could continue their raucous celebrations!

Well, in today's weird news, there's one proposal for people to celebrate -- but adults only.... MORE →

 

Mikhail Prokhorov

Mikhail Prokhorov (AP)

Russian billionaire playboy oligarch/Brooklyn Nets owner/heli-skiier/rapper/politician Mikhail Prokhorov received permission from the NBA to relocate the Nets ownership vehicle to Russia, a move that will allow him to comply with a new Russian law that bans some Russian officials from owning assets abroad. Prokhorov ran for Russian President while owner of the Nets in 2012 -- prior to the new laws regarding foreign assets -- losing to current Russian President Vladimir Putin by a wide margin.

"I received permission from the NBA to transfer the company that owns the Brooklyn Nets to a Russian company," Prokhorov said at the Thursday press conference. The Nets owner also said he received permission to move the ownership structure of Barclays Center to Russia. Neither move should have a significant impact on the operations of the Nets or arena.

Even with the permission, Prokhorov will not run for Mayor of Moscow as previously planned. At a June 13th press conference -- the same day the Nets announced Jason Kidd would be their new head coach -- Prokhorov said his Civil Platform party "will not participate in the procedure of prolonging the current mayor's license."

Prokhorov had planned to run for mayor in Fall of 2015, when current mayor Serei Sobyanin's term runs out. But Sobyanin announced last week that he is stepping down, triggering a special September election that Sobyanin will run in himself. The move is seen as a ploy by Sobyanin to extend his time in office by limiting his opponents' chance to campaign before the elections.

Read More: Transitions Online - - Prokhorov to Sit Out Moscow Mayoral Race 

Read More: The Wall Street Journal, Paul Sonne - - The Nets Are About To 'Move' To Russia 

 

How did the first year of transit around Barclays Center go? Depends who you ask. (AP)

Critics of the Barclays Center construction counted "Carmageddon in Brooklyn" among their considerable list of project grievances. The fear was that a sizeable amount of the 15,000+ arena attendees would drive to the game, creating parking and traffic problems for an already busy area.

But two-thirds of Nets fans used mass transit or walked to Barclays Center in the Nets' inaugural season in Brooklyn, a significantly higher rate than originally projected, according to a new report from Sam Schwartz Engineering.... MORE →

 

In an interview with Prime Time Russia, Brooklyn Nets, New York Islanders, and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark spoke at length about the business side of the three entities that he controls.

"Fan loyalty is critical," Yormark said, "especially when you open up a building like the Barclays Center. It's not difficult to get anyone to come once, the question is how do you keep getting them coming back time and time again. There's lots of different ways you do that: obviously you have to have great content. Whether that's the team, like the Nets, or other concerts that we host at Barclays Center."

What about the guest experience? Yormark states "Another big component is the guest experience and how you define that guest experience differently than any other venue in the marketplace. We invested a lot into the guest experience. One, the food and beverage experience of the Barclays Center is very premium; it speaks to Brooklyn...

"More important is that we engaged Disney. When someone goes to a Disney Park in the U.S., they find the experience there to be unlike anywhere else they go; they're treated like a celebrity. Our goal is to treat anyone who comes into our building like a celebrity. So Disney does all of our on-boarding, they do all of our employee training."

When asked how difficult it is to bring the fans of the New Jersey Nets along with them to Brooklyn, Yormark noted that "The goal is to encourage them and give them a reason to make that commute. Whether it's from Jersey to Brooklyn or Nassau County to Brooklyn. And I think we've done that, specifically with respect to the Nets."

Yormark says that he believes sports organizations are ran more as businesses than with true respect to the sport and the team. He says that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov "expects them to run it like a business."

Yormark was asked whether the Nets would sign a player simply for his marketability. He says, "We have these discussions internally often when there's an opportunity to sign a player, but I think what trumps all of that is making sure we are the most successful team on the court as possible.

"It really stops with talent; if that player is the most talented player available, then I think it's fair to say our GM Billy King is going to go after that player. If someone less talented, but more marketable, I'm not sure the conversation will last that long."

 

by MrNykes via Instagram

Judging from the number of Nets hats one sees in the streets of Kings County, it sure seems that the Brooklyn Nets have captured the imagination of Brooklyn.

But there’s some statistical evidence that the Nets are not yet fully a Brooklyn team.

First, just 16.7 percent of those who watched the Nets on YES Network are from Brooklyn, according to information provided The Brooklyn Game by Scarborough Research. By contrast, 30.7 percent were from New Jersey, and 46 percent came from New York City as a whole. (Chart below)

Second, The Brooklyn Game's own web traffic follows a roughly similar pattern. Our recent user survey indicated that 26 percent or our readers come from Brooklyn vs. 40 percent from New Jersey. Our site traffic is in the same zone, and, according to Tweetsmap.com, 30.8 percent of @TheBKGame followers come from New York City. In the state breakdown, 35 percent come from New York State compared to 14.7 in New Jersey.

The Nets declined to provide numbers on the geographic distribution of ticket buyers.

But the available statistics all indicate that the majority of active Brooklyn Nets fans are not from Brooklyn.

In a way, it's not surprising. If you were an ultra-serious basketball fan living in Brooklyn for the last few decades, you rooted for the Knicks, you didn’t sit out the season in the hope that some day Brooklyn would have a team. So the Nets started off with a problem: the Brooklynites who cared most about basketball already had other loyalties. Then, unfortunately for the Nets, the Knicks chose this year to get good again, making it less likely that grumpy, Dolan-hating Knicks fans would jump ship to the new team. Meanwhile, it's to be expected that many New Jerseyans who had stuck with the Nets during the lean years would stay with the new-improved version.

Perhaps we should just rejoice that the Brooklyn/Jersey Nets are a "national team" – what with the cool logo and the Jay-Z ownership.

On the other hand, despite the self-evident awesomeness of Nets fans, there are at least two signs that the situation is less than ideal. The Emory Sports Marketing Analytics study ranked the Nets dead last in fan involvement. It may not feel that way to those chanting Brooooook-lyn in the middle of Barclays -- or to the many who creatively "Rep Your Nets" each week -- but the folks at Emory argue that the most objective way to compare across cities is to look at the dollars spent relative what would be projected based on the population and other factors.

And while there's no precise way of knowing how fan intensity might affect a team, it is worth noting that the Nets had one of the worst home court advantage differentials in the league. As Devin wrote earlier, "Per 100 possessions, Brooklyn is only 1.7 points better at home than on the road, a margin that's only better than one team -- the 20-62 Orlando Magic, the team with the league's worst overall record."

Even if the diffuseness of the Nets fan base doesn't relate to either "brand equity" or the home court performance, it can't be a good thing in the long run that Brooklyn -- a city of 2.5 million people -- isn't supplying the bulk the Brooklyn Nets' fans.

Are there things the Nets could do to better penetrate the borough?

The Nets already conduct a variety of community events around the borough, especially with young people. And Barclays has made a point of using local Brooklyn food.

Personally, I think it would help if even a Net or two lived in Brooklyn, as several of the Brooklyn Dodgers did.

And it would be nice if the Forest City Ratner folks keep their promises about the development. Otherwise, some portion of Brooklyn will feel like rooting for the Nets is an endorsement of dishonest business practices.

[Note to Brooklyn readers: What else should the Nets do?]

This is just the first year in Brooklyn. Perhaps its not shocking that the Nets don't have Dodgers-like penetration. But the team should at least realize that the whole borough is not going hard for the Nets just yet.

Cable TV audience watching the Nets:

Source, Scarborough Research, NY DMA (2013, Release 1)