Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Barclays effect: bars do best (though are they getting arena visitors?), retail more mixed; has promised cross-marketing program fully launched?

The Daily News, after surveying nearly two dozen establishments, concluded in a Feb. 3 article, Big bucks off Barclays? Beer heavy bars happy, clothing shops and restaurants frustrated: Nearly five months after stadium opening, it's a mixed pix for biz

That's not out of line with some previous reports, and while it surely makes sense that people don't want to shop and bring bags into the arena, it's not fully explicable.

There are some restaurants in walking distance that get a boost, while other eateries, including a cake shop,  understandably feel competition from the arena's in-house operations. And yes, higher-end events get more diners, while Nets games get more drinkers. Meanwhile, given the density of residential near the arena, establishments must also cater to locals.

A bit of a mystery

How exactly Brooklyn Tap House on Myrtle Avenue in Bed-Stuy (identified in the Daily News as Clinton Hill) gets the pre-game crowd is interesting. It's right off the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, but it's a good three blocks from the G train. Are people parking and walking to the arena? To the subway? Or are they just staying to watch the game on TV?

But it surely is likely that the major spaces near the arena--the former Triangle Sports site at Fifth Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, the ground-floor space at the Atlantic Terrace building diagonally across from the northeast corner of the arena block--will be filled with establishments that cater to the arena crowds.

Five Guys closing

Unmentioned in the Daily News was the closing of Five Guys at Park Place near Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, as noted by Here's Park Slope:
Another likely influence upon its closure, in my opinion, is the opening of the Barclays Center. Two years ago, this location would have appeared to be a cash cow for several reasons: proximity to the arena (and those walking to and from events from their parking spots), proximity to the subway (and those passing by on their way home from work), and proximity to the thousands of people who live within walking distance in Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Fort Greene.
Unfortunately, they also had several elements working against them: a square footage (and therefore, most likely, a rent) that was far too large, a mostly ambivalent neighborhood, and (most tellingly) an arena-geared presumed clientele that never materialized.
Indeed, most people who might patronize this Five Guys are taking public transit and getting off at the station that leads to the arena, not one stop deeper into Brooklyn.

A few comments from Here's Park Slope readers:
In other cities, or in areas where fast food quick fixes serve a purpose for rushed workers (like across the street from a hospital, for instance), Five Guys might qualify as good enough. That shit didn't fly on that block, not when you can get a vastly better burger walking a few blocks in just about any direction. Good riddance.

...In other cities, or in areas where fast food quick fixes serve a purpose for rushed workers (like across the street from a hospital, for instance), Five Guys might qualify as good enough. That shit didn't fly on that block, not when you can get a vastly better burger walking a few blocks in just about any direction. Good riddance.
There is, of course, another Five Guys in the other direction up Flatbush, at Fulton Street, which likely gets both the rushed-worker crowd and arenagoers.

The word from the arena

Arena spokesman Barry Baum told Patch:
"We have launched a cross marketing campaign that highlights merchants in the neighborhoods around Barclays Center," he said in a written statement.
"For example, on the Barclays Center app, we feature an Around Brooklyn section that offers suggestions for restaurants, bars, shopping, and hotels. On Barclays Center TV, our custom in-arena and online video network, we showcase different neighborhoods and cool things happening in Brooklyn. We also are in regular dialogue with several business improvement districts and provide them with scheduling information about Barclays Center to help drive their businesses. We want everyone to benefit with the success of Barclays Center."
While it may be on the app, it's not on the Barclays Center web site (yet). BC TV does indeed showcase "cool things," though few represent places to spend money before or after a game.

On the Places of Interest section of the arena's Getting Here page (above), the focus is on cultural listings. So the cross-marketing plan seems to have been somewhat delayed. It's understandable that the arena would actually want to benefit first from the new patrons.

The promise of cross-marketing

According to August 2012 Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plan:
Cross-Marketing with Area Businesses
By cross-marketing between the arena and local restaurants, bars, and cultural institutions,
event attendees can be encouraged to arrive in the area before an event and/or stay in the area after events. This would spread the arrival and departure rates of fans traveling to and from the arena in order to limit the number of arena-generated trips on the local transportation system in the peak hours before and after events.
To that end, arena representatives are currently engaging with the local cultural and business community to develop specific elements to promote area establishments. This includes discussions with numerous organizations, such as the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance and various business improvement districts (BIDs) surrounding the arena. Arena representatives are continuing this engagement through conversations with local merchants as well. Drawing on feedback from these discussions, a local neighborhood promotional strategy will be developed utilizing several types of media that will include video promotions on in-arena television monitors, the arena website, the arena mobile phone application, and event programs. The details of this program are currently under development and will be in place by arena opening.
According to August 2012 Q&A regarding the TDM plan:
20. The MEC [Memorandum of Environmental Commitments] requires FCRC to develop a plan to cross‐market with area businesses to encourage arena visitors to patronize local restaurants and stores before and after games. As of early July, several business districts within walking distance of the arena have not been contacted by arena representatives about this initiative.
FCRC met with all Brooklyn business improvement districts (“BIDs”) at a meeting hosted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. In addition, FCRC has spoken to and met with a number of the leaders of BIDs in for areas surrounding the arena. Additional information on the cross‐marketing program is provided in the response to Comment 22.

22. How will marketing opportunities be priced to ensure that a wide array of businesses can participate?
The cross‐marketing efforts will not cost neighborhood businesses anything. Barclays Center is generating content on their institutional assets – the Barclays Center website, printed materials, smartphone app and in‐arena TV channel – that will feature local neighborhoods and institutions. The intent is to make sure the patrons of Barclays Center are aware of attractions and shopping surrounding the arena.

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