In an article on Slam Online, Kyle Stack talks to Robert Boland, a sports management professor at NYU, about Mikhail Prokhorov and the Barclays Arena under construction in arena. A lot of this article is the same old same old about Prokhorov, but Boland has an interesting take on the arena:
“They will have trouble selling out the arena the first couple of years,” Boland said. “The Knicks are having trouble selling out and they’re in Madison Square Garden with four million people walking under it every day.”
Even though the Nets’ Brooklyn arena would seemingly benefit from the 2.5 million people who live in the borough and the resulting enthusiasm of Brooklyn finally getting a pro sports team after what will have been a 54-year pro sports drought, there are plenty of questions yet to be answered. First on the list is whether fans are willing to pay for tickets to watch a team which has no assurance of being among the NBA’s elite during the next several years.
For starters, the arena is going to open a few years out, at which point the Nets will hopefully be in the Eastern Conference mix again. Second, I think there’s going to be a general curiosity the first few years of this thing, that will sell a bunch of tickets to casual fans. The Brooklyn market has gone untapped for decades, and as someone who lives in the borough, I don’t think you can just look to MSG and Manhattan to determine that Brooklyn will likely follow suit. They’re two completely different markets from my perspective. Also keep in mind that the Knicks have been miserable for nearly a decade. The Nets misery at this point has been short lived in comparison, and quite frankly, if the Knicks don’t land LeBron this summer, as they’ve been subtlety promising their fans they’re going to do for the past year, I think there’s a very good chance that a number of disenchanted Knicks fans will jump to the Nets camp.