Saturday, September 27, 2014

Second arena hockey game draws 11,823 (far less than last year); more obstructed seats than acknowledged?

Well, last September the first hockey game at the Barclays Center sold more tickets than anticipated--14,689 (of 15,813 capacity) vs. an originally expected 11,000 and got mixed reviews from fans.

This year, with less hype, and an expected 12,000 in attendance, the game between the new York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils drew 11,823.

That meant that many of the fans surprised by obstructed views--despite significant publicity that the arena was not designed for hockey--were able to move to better seats.

How many obstructed seats, really?

Two New York Times writers, however, managed to catch the Barclays Center impresario in a bit of misdirection, in Fans Come to See Isles in Future Home. Not All Succeed.:
The Conlons were not alone in their plight while attending the Islanders’ only visit this season to Barclays Center, their future home.The view from several hundred other seats at one end of the rink was also obstructed, though arena officials said many of those would not be offered for sale when the team starts play there next year.
“The seats with horrible views, they are off the manifest,” said Brett Yormark, the chief executive officer of Barclays Center, which is also home to the Nets.
Yormark said that about 400 of the 15,795 seats that will be sold next season for hockey would have some obstruction. Those tickets will be clearly marked.
...But Yormark did not share many specifics on which seats would be excluded when the Islanders arrive. A pregame walk at one end of the arena found far more than 400 seats with obstructed views.
Seven sections had no view of the goal at one end of the building. Most seats in nine other sections had a view of the net, but not of the near corner of the rink.
Note that 15,795 was the announced capacity for last night.

So, if some of the obstructed seats last night will not be sold, then capacity should be lower than 15,795, unless they add seats somewhere.

And it appears that, whatever the capacity, the Barclays Center is not telling the truth about the amount of obstructed seats.

Update: from Islanders Point Blank:
But for two-thirds of fans, the view will be great. Islanders Point Blank explored the arena on Friday night and found the view was equal to that of Nassau Coliseum from most sections outside of the obstructed view sections. There was a clear view of the ice, albeit a steep incline in the 200s.
..One noticeable change on Friday was the addition of seats behind the net the Islanders shoot on once. During last season’s preseason game in Brooklyn there had been high-top tables placed there, but this year they had been replaced by seats that can be rolled out for hockey games.
...The Barclays Center is not ideal for hockey. It has its’ quirks, but ultimately it is not as bad as some fans would like to make it out to be either. there will be an adjustment period as the team and the fans adjust to the new building.
Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center is not perfect, but it can work for hockey.
Update: from the New York Post:
The game drew 11,823 fans, short of its hockey capacity of 15,795, still making it the second-smallest building in the league, next to Winnipeg’s. There is some work yet to be done before next season — including making the ice somewhat usable for a NHL game, which it has now failed at twice — but in place were the new 270 seats behind the west goal, the highest-end seats, to be known as the “West End Club.” The construction of the Islanders’ new locker room is set to start this spring, and the 445 partially-obstructed-view seats are to be branded into something less off-putting, “something like ‘The Fun Zone’,” said Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark.
There were also a couple hundred potential seat buyers doing a “pick a seat” promotion on Friday, and premium seats went on sale to the public at the same time. That didn’t include the upper-bowl seats, which are set on an extreme upwards angle, making for some great sightlines but some dangerous situations when hockey fans and inebriation mix.

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