Presumably that still happens at the Barclays Center, which fills pretty well for the Brooklyn Nets, but not so much for local college basketball.
According to the box score, the attendance at Sunday afternoon's "Battle of Brooklyn" between Long Island University and St. Francis College was 2767.
Well, that must be tickets distributed, not gate count. (Despite a Ticketmaster minimum of $21.85 for a ticket, those with a code could get group tickets for $5, with no service charge. Others got tickets for free.)
In the brief video below, shot during the second half, I panned the lower bowl, which showed--according to my estimate--fewer than 1000 people. Note the big black screens obscuring the entire upper level.
What's it all about
As I wrote, arena operators could do a much better job getting people in the seats, promoting $5 and free seats more widely, but maybe it's just not worth it to them. Most of the concessions didn't even open.
Fun fact: last Wednesday, when I searched for (but didn't buy) tickets for $5, I was assigned seats in Section 20, Row 10, Seats 1-4. When, three days later, I actually purchased a ticket, I was assigned Seat 1 in that row. Could it have been that no one else bought those tickets?
It sure looks like college basketball, on the local level, is less an effort to reach Brooklyn consumers than to fulfill an obligation to Long Island University, which has a multifaceted partnership with the arena, including a purported role in the mysterious "Barclays Center Community Platform."