Skip to main content

Yormark credits "Brooklyn" for arena success: "Most importantly, it was free" (but now?)

Given that we now know that neither the Barclays Center nor the Brooklyn Nets are doing as well as they had in their big debut year, it's worth looking back just a few months on some more optimistic coverage.

Adweek on 9/9/14 published Brooklyn Nets Launch 'We Are Brooklyn' Campaign Will it solidify fans in the fickle borough?:
And to cement its stake in Brooklyn, the Nets are launching a multichannel campaign dubbed "We Are Brooklyn" that spans out-of-home, TV, web and social media content. New York residents and visitors might spot ads on subways, buses, taxis and MetroCards. In 2012, the "Hello Brooklyn" campaign helped launched the team as a lifestyle brand, while last year’s "Are You Ready" effort was more product-focused.
"Year three is a combination of both," [team/arena CEO] Yormark said. "Our fan base has evolved from being a little more casual to a little bit hardcore." Most of that fan base resides in the borough, and this year’s effort looks to capitalize on a growing national and global group of sports fans.
Well, that fan base has diminished.

A 9/9/14 Crain's article about Fred Mangione, promoted to be the chief operating officer Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, cited the good news:
According to 2013 year-end reports, Barclays Center finished first in revenue and tickets sold for U.S. arenas with capacities of 15,001 or more. Attendance was up 30% from 2011-2012, the team's final season in New Jersey. And ticket revenue jumped 278%. Next, the New York Islanders will make Barclays their home, starting with the 2015 season.
"We want to maximize all the revenues we can," Mr. Mangione said.
---
Yormark on TV

Also, on 9/4/14, team/arena CEO Brett Yormark spoke with Stephanie Ruhle at the Bloomberg Sports Summit. The headline: Brooklyn Is Reason for Barclays Center's Success: CEO.

The voice-over intro:
Between the New York Yankees, the New York Knicks,  the Rangers , New York City has some of the big sports franchises. They earn big money. But there is another team scoring on and off the court. The Brooklyn Nets. The team and the Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark sat down with my colleague and Market Makers anchor Stephanie Ruhle She asked him how business was doing.
Yormark was very positive: "It has been incredible. It has exceeded all of our expectations. As I often tell people, New York City is the big event business, and we are part of that big event business now in Brooklyn. That was our vision, bringing world-class entertainment to the borough. We've delivered on that, in so many ways...."



The Islanders will help

Ruhle asked about the impact of the New York Islanders, coming this fall.

"That is going to create an opportunity to be selective in our programming mix, but we're very excited because, with the volatility of the concert business, we've all benefited from the concert business being very robust for the last couple of years," stated Yormark, noting the "insurance policy" of 44 more dates.

The Brooklyn factor?

So, how does the Barclays Center compete with other arenas?

"I would love to take credit for it, but I can't," Yormark responded. "I think it is Brooklyn. People love this hip, cool factor of Brooklyn. Up-and-coming artists want to play there."

Hold on. What about cutting some good deals with musical acts?

"I was telling someone from MTV yesterday, y'know, they lost 20% of their audience from the recent VMAs [Video Music Awards] in L.A. versus what occurred in Brooklyn," Yormark said.

Yes, the VMAs in Los Angeles drew 8.3 million viewers, down from the 10.1 million who saw the Brooklyn show, but up from the 6.1 million who watched the show the previous year, according to Nielsen. The reason, apparently, was not merely "Brooklyn" but rather the presence (or lack thereof) of Miley Cyrus.

Behind the Brooklyn factor?

What was so special about Brooklyn, such a short distance from the Nets' previous home?

"We were the last in revenue in the NBA when we left New Jersey. We were in the top five last year," Yormark responded. "We were 31st in merchandise sales our last year in New Jersey. With Adidas, the key licensee in the NBA, we were number three this past season. What we did is we transformed our brand into something that truly embraced Brooklyn, brand Brooklyn. We wear it on our jersey. The architecture speaks to brand Brooklyn. Our food speaks to Brooklyn. Our employees are from Brooklyn. We've been able to embrace this incredible dynamic. Most importantly, it was free."

That recalls the August 2012 New York magazine feature article on the arena, where Will Leitch wrote:
They believe that the idea of Brooklyn itself—the Brooklyn brand, the actual word Brooklyn—has commercial power. As Yormark puts it: “I often tell people, ‘Shame on us if we do not leverage this. It comes for free. You do not have to pay for it, and to some degree we inherit it.’ From a marketer’s perspective, just the diversification of Brooklyn itself is a marketer’s dream.”
They certainly made a lot out of it, but it can only go so far.

A bigger arena?

"Now that you're built, you're there, that you've sold out, do you wish you put more seats in?" Ruhle asked. "Do you wish you were bigger?"

"No. not really," Yormark responded wisely, perhaps knowing the consistency couldn't stick.

"We hold 17,700 and change for basketball. One of the things that is great about the Barclays Center is the intimacy and the sight lines. I'm not sure we could have captured that if we went larger. Y'know what, it's always nice to have, to be sold out and create scarcity. When you look around the NBA, those last thousand or two seats are not easy to sell, and we don't necessarily have that problem right now in Brooklyn."

They have since then, and they're even lowering ticket prices in certain sections next year.

And they've gone to sites like Groupon to move concert tickets.

What's next?

Ruhle left Yormark with a softball question: "Some people say the intimacy is the best thing about the Barclays Center, others say the Brooklyn Nets are. What's in store this season?"

"I'm excited about the team. We went into a bit of a different direction," Yormark said. "We got a little younger, a little faster. I think Billy King and ownership have put together a great product."

That, actually, hasn't worked out so well.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…