Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brett Yormark interview: no over-commercialization of the arena (?!), project on schedule, Brooklyn brand will be hyped, "professional hockey" viable

A two-part interview on the The Big Lead (Part 1, Part 2) with Nets CEO Brett Yormark includes the following nuggets.

100% on-schedule
From a litigation standpoint, there are no major hurdles remaining. From a construction standpoint, we are on schedule. We will officially open the building Sept. 28, 2012 with a celebration of events that will run through mid-November . . . There will be a check list of things I will want to look at, and if you know me it will be a long one. But we will be ready.
There was no mention of after-hours work.

No over-commercialization
We have an incredible base of partners. But we are still aggressively marketing and selling. There are some key categories that we are finishing off: insurance, auto, airline, to be specific. We should be able to close those out and make announcements within the next 30-40 days. That said, our philosophy in Brooklyn when it comes to the commercialization of the building is that less is more. So we are not going to overdo it.
Not overdoing it is a relative term, given that Yormark is known, among other things, for being the first to sign an off-season sponsor and to sell naming rights to practice jerseys.

On the Brooklyn brand
We know how important the brand of Brooklyn is. My feeling is that anything good you can find in this country, you can find in Brooklyn. We went out and tested the pickles, the knishes, the cheesecake, and the best of the best will be here. The main thing about Brooklyn from a marketing point of view is the diversification. It’s a marketer’s dream to be able to target so many ethnic groups that help to make the borough what it is.
Hm. Maybe there is a job for Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz after he leaves public office. After all, no one at the top--Mikhail Prokhorov, Bruce Ratner, Yormark himself--is from Brooklyn.

Having the Islanders come
Let me just say that we can convert it to a hockey venue and have a great destination for professional hockey.
Let's keep watch and see how many times Yormark says "professional" and how many times he says "major league."

The $400 million fantasy

It's not the most incisive interview. The first installment included the discredited claim that the Barclays naming rights agreement was worth $400 million, not $200 million, and, despite my comment appended to that report, the claim continued to appear in the second installment.

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