LIU basketball team may play at Barclays Center; that puts the LIU provost's enthusiastic, unquestioning support for AY in context
The newspaper reports:
The Blackbirds are looking to nest with the Nets.Low attendance for now
The suddenly world-class Long Island University men’s basketball team is in negotiations to play a portion of its home games at the Barclays Center, catapulting the plucky squad to a national audience when the arena is completed next year.
“LIU [is part of] a strategic partnership that will encompass many areas of our business, including having several LIU games played at the Barclays Center,” said Nets spokesman Barry Baum.
The LIU cagers were valiant in their ultimately futile first-round loss to North Carolina in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament last week — but Coach Jim Ferry thinks that his squad could have benefitted from regular competition against the big boys.
“Some of these bigger schools won’t play us on our home court,” he said.
Note that the home court hasn't been doing that well, with fewer than 1800 seats filled--one tenth of the capacity of the Barclays Center. As the New York Times reported last week:
The team did not sell out its home games until the Northeast Conference final, when the gym (capacity 1,800) was packed with students and faculty members, and some local groups who got free tickets.The Brooklyn Paper, actually, reports a different capacity:
Since 2005, the Blackbirds have been playing at the $45-million, 3,000-seat Athletic, Recreation and Wellness Center at DeKalb Avenue and Ashland Place.LIU, which should be definitive, reports the capacity of the arena as 2500 seats.
Basketball as lure
Numerous smaller academic institutions have used sports to gain a larger public profile, and LIU seems eager to adopt that strategy.
But the AY support still doesn't add up. The campus provost, Gale Stevens Haynes (a self-described basketball fan) said in a sworn affidavit in the case challenging the Atlantic Yards timetable (heard this month):
The students and faculty at LIU-Brooklyn are very supportive of the Atlantic Yards Redevelopment Project. The advantages of the Project are abundant.If LIU students don't care about their own university's basketball team, how do they care about Atlantic Yards? They don't.
... I know that the students and faculty of LIU-Brooklyn firmly believe that the important public benefits that will result from the Project will outweigh any adverse impacts of extended construction on our neighborhoods.
But there's a bandwagon effect, so if the team plays in the arena, and the tickets are cheap enough, maybe they will.