Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nets host Knicks, but attract modest crowd

With an announced attendance of 16,722, the Izod Center was allegedly 83.7% full (capacity 19,968) for the game last night between the New Jersey Nets and the New York Knicks.

Well, I was there, and saw scads of empty seats--I'd estimate the arena was at best 60% full--and this with a good number of Knicks fans, happy with the team's come-from-behind victory. (See empty upper deck seats here and here.)

That's part of why Forest City Enterprises is absorbing $22.4 million in losses from the Nets this year. It's also why, despite Forest City's claim that it can proceed with Atlantic Yards at its own pace (assuming litigation is cleared), it must be feeling the pressure.

After all, the company is saving $30 million by suspending its dividend. If the ownership of the Nets and the Atlantic Yards project had been magically wiped away, Forest City would have lost the a project with a significant potential upside. But it might have been able to keep its dividend.

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