Nets CEO John Abbamondi still sees the team as new to the area even after 10 years in Brooklyn, and an even longer presence in the greater New York Metropolitan area. And he’s been happy with the growth of the organization’s imprint in the market in his short time with the Nets, especially as fans reemerge as the world attempts to get back to normal following the darkest times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021-22 season marked the first time since before the pandemic that the NBA has hosted a full season with no attendance restrictions at Barclays Center. The Nets have averaged 17,153 or 96.7% capacity through 30 games this season at Barclays Center.
“It’s been fantastic. We’ve set five attendance records this season,” Abbamondi told amNewYork and The Brooklyn Game on Tuesday at an event to open a new food pantry in Ocean Hill Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. “Five different times where we broke our all-time attendance record in Brooklyn. We are now fourth in the NBA in ticket revenue. Our business is doing really well. Our people want to go out, restaurants are crowded and our games are packed.
“We’re hoping once we get all our players back healthy and playing, we think we’re going to have an exciting stretch run into the playoffs.”
The Nets have surpassed 18,000 fans in attendance on five occasions this season, with the largest tally coming on Jan. 25 when they hosted the Los Angeles Lakers at the Barclays Center. It should be noted that the NBA counts attendance as tickets distributed rather than tickets sold or gate count.
Brooklyn should see a spike on Thursday when Kevin Durant is expected to make his long-awaited return to the floor following an MCL sprain in mid-January. The game will also feature the Eastern Conference-leading Miami Heat.
Even as the Nets, along with the rest of the NBA, were decimated by COVID attendance numbers at the Barclays held steady. The smallest crowd during that stretch came on Jan. 9 when they announced attendance at 15,606.
As for the inroads the team has made in the local market, Abbamondi indicated that the fanbase was growing.
“In many ways we’re still a young franchise,” he said. “We’ve been in Brooklyn for 10 years, been in the region longer, but Brooklyn 10 years. Our fanbase is growing and I think you see it here with these kids. These are our future fans who are hopefully going to be cheering on the Nets for many years to come.”