Monday, October 22, 2012

Notes from inaugural Barclays boxing event: perspective may depend on proximity; early liquor cut-off; crowd rowdier than hoops but mostly in control

8 pm, visible empty seats
Beyond the press coverage of the inaugural boxing event Saturday, Oct. 20, I talked to a couple of people who had good seats and said it was enjoyable to watch, and point people to boxing blogger Karl Greenberg, who had cheap seats, said it was hard to see without binoculars, and was peeved at the concession prices.

But the biggest piece of news: they cut off liquor sales at 9:30 pm, some three hours before the epic, nine-bout card ended (and two hours before they could have kept serving), but more than 4.5 hours after they started letting people into the building for the undercard, which started at 8 pm.

That indicates a certain amount of understandable caution regarding the potential for a crowd to get liquored up during an event that lasted, roughly, three times as long as a typical basketball game.

Around midnight, somewhat more full
It also indicated a recognition that some people in the crowd, as one observer suggested, were getting started on the booze (discreetly) while waiting outside on the arena plaza.

Given the sport--and, perhaps, the 1,000-plus free tickets--the crowd was somewhat rowdier than at a basketball game. One observer reported that people were periodically screaming things like "knock the fucker out" and "that guy's a pussy."

But only one attendee--at least among those in view of my sources--was ejected for rowdiness (video here) and the crowd was generally in control.

What about the freebies?

The announced attendance was a little over 11,000, a little more than the estimate of 10,700, but achieved only with the freebies, which is likely why boxing won't be monthly, as initially announced, but return in three months. The arena can seat up to 19,000, depending on configuration.

Update: ESPN reports the event "drew 11,869 patrons, 9,635 of them purchased tickets, and the gate was approximately $1 million, according to a reputable source." That's 19% comps, but columnist Michael Woods still thinks the tally was "not too shabby."

Wrote MaxBoxing's Steve Kim:
In my previous article, I detailed how the discounting of tickets by Golden Boy Promotions and the Barclays Center was alienating fans who actually purchase tickets and have the temerity to support the business of boxing. Well, things got even more farcical with this offer put out earlier this week, which in effect gave any resident of Brooklyn four (not one, two or three but four, whether you like it or not) freebies.
Uh, yeah, but I have a feeling that the Brett Yormark Foundation wasn’t given any four-packs for the Jay-Z concert in this building. You don’t need to be an insider at StubHub to figure out how things are going with this promotion.




The Nets connection

NetsDaily reported (and has since updated the passage):
There were nine fights at Barclays Center Saturday night, and each fighter, along with his corner men, received a bag of Brooklyn Nets gear, caps and water bottles and t-shirts. It's part of Brett Yormark's cross-promotion, to associate others with the team and the team with the others. It started, of course, with Jay-Z end now will be a regular part of every big event at the arena.

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