Skip to main content

The power of free tickets to win the Barclays Center friends and good karma, and the multiple pathways--from raffles to ticket dumps--for distribution

Do not underestimate the power of free tickets to Barclays Center events in winning friends and allies. After all, everyone likes something for nothing, especially when it's a high-profile concert or basketball game.

For arena operators, such free tickets can be distributed, in the most part, with little pain: most events won't sell out. And once people are inside the arena, they not only make the building look more full, they spend money on expensive food and drink.

The main downside? The ticket distribution must be managed so as to not make buyers of full-price tickets feel like suckers, as some boxing writers have noted.

Also, people who are truly needy aren't getting that great a deal if they still have to shell out big bucks to eat and drink.

The $15 tickets

The $15 tickets to Brooklyn Nets games have played a somewhat related role, winning good publicity, even though the number available before games seems far less than the much promoted total of 2,000.

Multiple pathways

Free tickets have been distributed in several ways:
  • monthly drawings for community groups, as specified in the Community Benefits Agreement (about which I'll write more in another post)
  • sweepstakes through newspaper partners, like the New York Daily News (see below)
  • one-time ticket dumps, as with the first boxing event at the arena, which involved more than 1,000 freebies
  • more casual distribution to acquaintances and those lucky enough to be at certain events, such as at the monthly CBA ticket drawings
  • rewards/succor for those affected by Superstorm Sandy, via Borough President Marty Markowitz on 11/13/12
  • compensation of sorts to neighbors frustrated by arena operations
In the Daily News

Note, for example, the three advertisements in the Oct. 28 New York Daily News, offering tickets via a sweepstakes to the Journey concert (now canceled) and the Coaches vs. Cancer college basketball tourney.


According to arena estimates, Journey (later canceled for weather) was supposed to attract 9,600 attendees, little more than half arena (peak) capacity, while the basketball games were supposed to draw 8,000. So that left a lot of slack for free tickets.

This is a good deal for both parties: both have excess capacity--advertising space for the newspaper and empty seats for the arena. They can help each other.

Of course there's a limit--if the arena plans to restrict seating from the upper bowl, to make the building look less empty and to keep a cap on staffing, then they can't simply paper the house.

Quieting frustrated neighbors?

I've heard secondhand that Barclays Center officials have offered free tickets to a few people near the the arena who must bear the brunt of illegal parking, workers sitting on their stoops, and other daily inconveniences.

I don't know the extent, but the gesture makes sense--it's a gift that costs the arena very little but might win some goodwill. It doesn't address the impacts, but it provides a distraction and some appearance of value.

A follow-up on the Brett Yormark Foundation

Note that 1,000 tickets to the first boxing event were distributed thanks to the Brett Yormark Foundation, named for the arena/team CEO. I noted last month that the Brett Yormark Foundation had not been previously announced.

Was it set up for this event? Did it even formally exist at the time? When was it established? I'm not sure, and my queries to Yormark and arena spokesman Barry Baum went unanswered.

I can say that searches of the New York State database of nonprofit corporations and an Internal Revenue Service list of foundations came up empty. Now, there may be a time lag in registering data, so those searches aren't definitive.

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…