While it has some value to the public at large, the plaza is not only a revenue opportunity for the arena operators, it's also a key safety valve for arena attendees, as noted by the modified tailgate party before an Islanders playoff game in April.
NBA draft time
Indeed, as I was reminded when I visited the plaza Thursday to shoot a few photos on the evening of the NBA draft, it's also an extension of arena activities.
After walking up the stairs--branded with a Resorts World Casino ad--visitors encountered an NBA-branded Draft16 backdrop, branded with sponsor State Farm, for photos.
A State Farm advertisement blinked from the oculus. And a red State Farm booth occupied plaza space that ticketed attendees would pass. (The scalpers murmuring entreaties to buy and sell tickets, however, were an unofficial presence on the plaza.)