Monday, July 08, 2013

Orwellian, almost: arena CEO Yormark claims "We did not comp" boxing tickets

It's another attempt to rewrite history, just like Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner claiming the arena jobs have a "tremendous" impact on the local economy.

In an interview last week celebrating the success of boxing at the Barclays Center--part of a set of interviews also helping promote the Forest City Ratner-led bid to revamp the Nassau Coliseum--Nets/arena CEO Brett Yormark made some dubious claims to an ESPN boxing writer:
"We did not comp," he said. "We're not comping. There are very few comps. The first two fights we discounted probably a little more than we wanted to, but we have not comped. We don't believe in comping here. One of the things we had to learn, we had to learn price it right, and in the last two fights I think we really priced it right."
They didn't comp?

As I pointed out last October, and then last week on Twitter, Yormark's foundation gave away 1000 "complimentary tickets" to the first show. See graphic at right, stating:
The Brett Yormark Foundation is donating 1,000 tickets to the Brooklyn community, as 250 lucky Brooklynites will receive four complimentary tickets to the first ever boxing card at Barclays Center on Saturday, October 20 at 5:00 pm.
Was that a comp?

In a series of Twitter messages, "carnival barker" (to quote columnist Ian O'Connor) Yormark claimed that because he purchased the tickets and then gave them away, that didn't represent comping.

Then again, the "complimentary tickets" were offered not by some individual season ticket holder but by the arena on its website.

Yormark's line of argument recalled the classic 2005 claim by then Forest City executive Jim Stuckey, "It's Orwellian, almost."

Such rhetorical somersaults recall Yormark's strategy from the New Jersey Nets era.  "You’ll never see us in print or just verbally discuss discounting; it’s more about value," he said in April 2009. At that time, the team was doling out comps by the thousands.

On Twitter

The sequence began with the boxing writer, who stayed out of the rest of the exchange.

In closing

Yormark, who once claimed "I don't care what people think," couldn't respond with logic, so he changed the subject, closing with a personal jibe. (We have a contentious history.)

It's understandable that Yormark would want to manipulate a compliant press, rather than be treated skeptically.

The last person to suggest I had too much free time was Forest City Ratner's flack, more than seven years ago. The responses were scornful.

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