Saturday, April 15, 2006

The demise of the "Brooklyn Nets" and the rise of the "[Corporate Sponsor] Arena"?

The new AtlanticYards.com web site offers clues to back up speculation that principal New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner will jettison the name "Nets" if the team moves to Brooklyn, and that the arena proposed for the Atlantic Yards project would not have the generic "Brooklyn Arena" name.

The site does include a reference on the arena page to "the Brooklyn Nets," but that name appears very infrequently. Rather, we get more generic references to the "Nets" and statements like "Atlantic Yards: Bringing the Nets home to Brooklyn."

Two years ago, Forest City Ratner more enthusiastically promoted the "Brooklyn Nets," as in the original December 2003 press release or this 2004 flier, which proclaimed "And we get the Brooklyn Nets."

The Brooklyn Attitudes?

So maybe the team will be "formerly known as the Nets." Some news outlets are reporting that the team's chief owner, Bruce Ratner, is considering a name change. Sports Illustrated columnist Frank Lidz commented that Ratner hasn't yet decided whether to rename his franchise the Brooklyn Nets or something less generic and more evocative. Among the most inspired are the Brooklyn Bridge, the Brooklyn Bagels and the Brooklyn Heights. But the hometown favorite is the Brooklyn Accents.

Has Lidz taken some kind of poll that suggests that Brooklyn Accents is a favorite? Did that come from Ratner's office? WWMS? (What would Marty Markowitz say?) This would position the team along with the few NBA franchises with less tangible nouns, like the Orlando Magic, the Miami Heat, and the Utah (formerly New Orleans) Jazz.

Brooklyn's Courier-Life chain recently suggested "the Brooklyn Blacktops or the Brooklyn Attitudes," in an article headlined NJ Nets Mull Name Change For Brooklyn Tip Off.

The newspaper quoted Nets CEO Brett Yormark as saying that “Brooklyn will be the predominant [city] brand, but we’re not sure of what the last name will be,” noting that the team would be researching a possible name change.

Attitudes and Blacktops surely top Lidz's suggestions. But two basketball names that would also acknowledge concerns about the Atlantic Yards project as a whole would be the "Brooklyn (Super)Blocks" and the "Brooklyn (Traffic) Jammers." Of course, the New York Press has already suggested the "Brooklyn Rats."

Forget the Brooklyn Arena

Lidz pointed out: To tap into the largess of corporations, it wouldn't be surprising if Ratner offered naming rights to the team's proposed arena at the Atlantic Yards. (Um, the Atlantic Yards is a project, not a place.)

On AtlanticYards.com, what was announced in December 2003 as the Brooklyn Arena is now more generically called "the arena." The relevant page on Forest City Ratner's web site for the project is titled "Atlantic Yards Arena."

Most sports franchise owners--except a community-owned anomaly like the Green Bay Packers or the itching-for-a-new-arena New York Knicks--earn millions from selling naming rights to sports facilities. "Atlantic Yards Arena" is likely a placeholder for the corporate name that would be attached to this not-quite-public-but-publicly-subsidized building.

1 comment:

  1. Is there some obvious reason I'm missing that the Nets couldn't be renamed the Brooklyn Dodgers?

    After all, dodging is actually a motion more appropriate for basketball than for baseball.

    Yes, I realize there's still a baseball team called the Dodgers in some city out west, but if both baseball and football can have teams called the Giants, why can't the Dodgers name be used in both baseball and basketball?

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