Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Nets' playoff theme, "Blackout in Brooklyn" (and is anyone else left uneasy?)

It's certainly understandable why the Brooklyn Nets would choose "Blackout in Brooklyn" as the team's playoff theme, though, as I explain below, those with some recollection of Brooklyn history might be left uneasy.


As "local connections" Patch contributor Leah L. (almost surely this Barclays Center communications intern) on 4/13/13 described it:
Hello Playoffs!The Brooklyn Nets today unveiled their 2013 NBA Playoffs fan experience campaign,, Blackout in Brooklyn. During the Nets playoff run, Brooklynites across the borough and fans attending games at Barclays Center are encouraged to wear black, one of the team’s colors, to represent Brooklyn’s pride, boldness, and strength. Brooklyn Nets Playoffs are presented by American Express, a Founding Partner of Barclays Center.
“Brooklyn, I want to see your pride. Represent your home team in black during the Playoffs,” said Brooklyn Nets star guard Deron Williams. “You have stood behind us all season and now we’re proud to be the borough’s first playoff team since 1956. Let me hear your BROOOOK-LYYYYN chant!”
Barclays Center will undergo a transformation for the Playoffs with signage changing to #HelloPlayoffs and Blackout in Brooklyn. Black will be featured throughout the venue with specially designed d├ęcor, foods, including black and white popcorn, black pastas, and chocolate desserts, and Brooklyn Nets Playoff merchandise, which is currently available at Nets Shop by adidas at Barclays Center and at Musical performers from across the borough will be showcased in-game and on the Daily News Plaza as fans arrive at the arena.
As the presenting sponsor of the 2013 Brooklyn Nets Playoffs, American Express is providing a number of exclusive benefits for American Express Cardmembers, such as exclusive pre-sale access to individual Playoff game tickets and access to specially designed private experiences.
Brooklyn Nets Playoff tickets are currently on sale. Fans interested in purchasing tickets for Brooklyn Nets Playoff games at Barclays Center can call 800-4NBA-TIX or visit for more information. Playoff coverage can be found online at,,, and via other Brooklyn Nets social media properties. Download the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center apps to follow the team throughout the Playoffs!
In the Post

The New York Post's Brooklyn blog got the scoop, on 4/12/13, with Nets tipping off 'Blackout in Brooklyn' playoff campaign:
There’s going to be a “Blackout in Brooklyn” for Nets’ home playoff games – and it has nothing to any local TV-coverage restrictions.

With Barclays Center later in the month set to host the borough’s first major-league playoff games since 1956 when the Dodgers were still in town, arena brass plan to cover most of the Nets’ new home in the team’s black-and-white-colors – even the food that’ll be served.

The goal of the new “Blackout in Brooklyn” campaign: getting fans to sup up home-court advantage by dressing in team colors during playoff games and also sport black-and-white attire in honor of the Nets outside the arena, too.

“When you come in, you are going to feel like there’s truly a ‘Blackout in Brooklyn’ – everything even down to the food and drink,” Nets/Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark told the Post. “This is a huge moment for us and the borough, and it’s time to celebrate.”

Those heading to rap mogul Jay-Z’s swanky 40/40 Club and other concessions will get to choose from a feast of black-and-white colored pastas, burgers, salads, cotton candy, popcorn, cakes and dozens of other edible items.

Images of Nets' stars in a black-and-white motif will be plastered throughout the arena, and other new team-colored signage will be hung along the windows as well.

Even playoff tickets are being printed in black and white, and only predominately black-colored shirts and merchandise will be sold at the arena during playoff games.

The arena already is dimly lit and has black seats, giving arena honchos a head start to the “Blackout” the team is seeking.

Yormark said other teams have historically taken similar measures to boost home-court advantage – such as fans of the NBA Champion Miami Heat having “White Out” themes for their games. But Yormark said his club “is taking this idea to another level.”

"It's been an incredible transformation, from a brand perspective, a business perspective," declared Yormark in an excerpt from "The Association," the NBA TV series. "We really want to open up the playoffs in a dramatic fashion."

Chief Marketing Officer Fred Mangione, explained, "Even the website, as you see it today, will flip into a total black, not black and white, but all black with a 'blackout' theme."

"It's all about taking it to a whole new level," Yormark continued. "People answer the phone, 'Hello, playoffs, it's Blackout in Brooklyn. May I help you, please."

The other notions of "blackout"

There's a benign historical reference in there, to the famous blackout cake from defunct Brooklyn bakery Ebinger's, but there's a more somber one, to the 1977 blackout that caused massive destruction in Bushwick, as in the image below, via the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Surely Yormark, a New Jersey guy who once told an interviewer he'd never heard of P.T. Barnum, doesn't know.

And Borough President Marty Markowitz, who surely does know, has played along, declaring in
his State of the Borough Address 4/11/13:

Note that Markowitz's scripts are typically in capital letters (easier to read?) and have exclamation points.

As I noted in my coverage of his speech, the program cover happened to be in orange and blue.

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