Skip to main content

Barclays Center inaugural boxing round-up: a triumph (except for the failed drug test, papered house, and delayed return card)

While nearly all coverage of the inaugural night of boxing last night at the Barclays Center was laudatory, SI.com's Brian Armen Graham was a skeptic, and the facts that the arena papered the house and boxing won't return monthly--which went unmentioned in most the coverage I scanned--were factors.

Graham wrote, Boxing's return to Brooklyn: one-sided fights and bad promoter deal
The built-in hook for Saturday's fight card at the Barclays Center -- where Danny Garcia nearly decapitated a faded Erik Morales in the main event to defend his junior welterweight titles -- was the return of championship boxing to Brooklyn for the first time since before La Guardia was mayor.

...Brooklyn may be fertile ground for the sweet science, but events like this one won't be enough for the seed to find purchase.
The reason: one-sided bouts:
Four one-sided fights feels more like fulfilling business relationships and obligations than producing an authentic sports experience for fans.

Looking back, maybe the plan to reestablish boxing in Brooklyn was flawed from inception. The Barclays Center signed an three-year agreement with Golden Boy, cash up front being no small matter for a $1 billion building that admirably went up without public subsidies. But the short-sightedness of inking an exclusive deal with a promoter was laid bare in February, when the building missed the opportunity to host a Wladimir Klitschko fight because the heavyweight champ's promotional team understandably balked at sharing revenue with a co-promoter they didn't need.

Golden Boy made another dubious move on Wednesday, when it offered free tickets to the first 1,000 fans who could prove Brooklyn residency -- an effective one-finger salute to the diehards who bought tickets early. When you paper a house, you risk killing a market. Needless to say, the gambit played no small part in boosting the announced attendance of 11,112 -- if not the live gate of just under $800,000.
(Emphasis added)

The building didn't go up without public subsidies, as I commented, citing direct subsidies, tax breaks, eminent domain, etc. And the state gave away naming rights. Also, the free tickets were courtesy of the fledging Brett Yormark Foundation.

The press cheers

New York Times, Brooklyn Welcomes Back Title Fights:
Championship boxing returned to Brooklyn on Saturday night for the first time in 81 years. The borough deserted by baseball’s Dodgers in the 1950s and now embraced by the N.B.A.’s Nets, held four title bouts at the newly built Barclays Center.

Before the arena opened for the nine-card bout, hundreds of eager fans spilled out of the Atlantic Avenue subway station to line up in front of its doors, behind which a few Brooklyn brawlers were hoping to make history of their own.

“The last good fight I saw in Brooklyn was on the No. 2 train last week,” said Monica Johnson, a 24-year-old grocery clerk from Flatbush. “If any of these fights tonight are as good as that one, it’s going to get real crazy in here.”

...“It’s a thrill for me to have been a part of all of this great history of Brooklyn boxing,” [Danny] Jacobs said after the fight with nary a scratch. “I’m ready to do it again next week.”
Boxing.com, Barclays Winners Squared Circle:
The inaugural fight card at Brooklyn’s spanking new Barclays Center was a smashing success. The four fights broadcast on Showtime did not, however, come off without a hitch. There were two failed drugs tests, an inability to make weight, and there were no upsets. But three of the four fights were entertaining, and two of the four were even competitive.

The main evening of the evening featured super lightweight champion Danny Garcia (25-0, 16 KOs) defending his WBC/WBA titles in a rematch with Erik Morales (52-9, 36 KOs). Morales had failed two pre-fight drug tests yet he was given a green light [link] to fight. The reasons for this are as inexplicable as they are inconclusive.
ESPN, Brooklyn wins big at Barclays:
The Barclays Center has provided a new home and a new name for what are now the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA -- although early preseason results suggest it has done nothing to magically improve that team's results. The arena's first experiment in bringing big-time boxing back to the borough, however, saw the home team sweep the wins, sometimes in style.

OK, Paulie Malignaggi might have benefitted slightly from hometown cooking in eking out a split-decision win against Pablo Cesar Cano. But, close and hard-fought though it was, it was clear how much the win -- and the experience -- meant to the "Magic Man."


...this is New York, so everything was bigger: the beautiful new venue, the crowd that didn't quite fill it in numbers but filled it with noise, and the number of local fighters who represented their city and their borough.
The New York Daily News, Brooklyn-native Mike Tyson on hand at Barclays Center to see Danny Garcia KO Erik Morales in fourth round:
“This is a milestone for Brooklyn,’’ said Tyson, who grew up in Brownsville and drew one of the biggest cheers of the night. “It’s good to see the people here. They have jobs. They’re happy. This is just the beginning. I believe after this first night we’re going to see marvelous things here.’’

The first title match of the evening, featuring Randall Bailey defending his IBF welterweight title against Devon Alexander, was so boring that the fans booed throughout. It was the first world championship fight in Brooklyn in 81 years and never have so many waited so long for so little.
USA TODAY:
Even the pro-Brooklyn crowd booed at the decision [for local Paulie Malignaggi].

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…