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In move to Brooklyn, average Nets ticket price would leap

Thanks significantly to 170 new high-priced suites, the “blended average ticket price” for Nets games would go up dramatically, 73% for regular-season games and 64% for playoff games, upon the team's move from the Continental Airlines Arena in the Meadowlands to the planned Barclays Center arena.

The leap: from $74.98 to $129.72 for regular and preseason games (above), and from $90.71 to $149.18 for playoff games (below). Click to enlarge.

The price of most tickets likely wouldn't rise as sharply as the "blended average"--which would be distorted by the nearly sixfold increase in suites--but the projected boom in ticket revenues suggests one reason for a new arena.

The projections surfaced in a document provided by developer Forest City Ratner and unearthed by the lawsuit filed by Assemblyman Jim Brennan and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

The document, titled Nets Income Statement Detail, is part of Brooklyn Arena/Nets Financial Projections, dated 10/10/06. It assumes [corrected] that 2008-9 would be the team's last year in the Meadowlands--though that is unlikely.

Average or median?

Forest City Ratner also has pledged that there would be at least 2000 “screecher seats,” costing $15, among the 18,000 total seats for each game. So, to reach the new high average ticket price, the cheap seats would have to be offset by some very expensive ones.

Still, while the average price may leap, the median--the center value in a set of data--probably would not change as dramatically. In other words, the middle-range seats wouldn't go up as much. [Updated] Note that the single game average ticket price would go up relatively little, 12%, while the prices for group tickets, full season, and partial season tickets would go up much more dramatically.

PSL evasions

The new document (p. 3 of PDF) also confirms, as a KPMG report (p. 11 of PDF) for the Empire State Development Corporation predicted in December, that Forest City Ratner expects $20 million in revenue from 4500 "Personal Seat Licenses" (PSLs) sold at $4500 each. (Click to enlarge.)

Forest City Ratner spokesman Barry Baum refused to confirm such plans in a 1/26/07 article in the Courier-Life chain headlined Nets Ticket Blitz Begins - Nets promise plenty of screecher seats.

The newspaper reported:
Baum’s comments came after a published report cited a confidential December audit by KPMG projects that the Nets will charge a $4,500 “personal seat license” fee...

But Baum noted the KPMG report was separate from the Nets management and might not necessarily reflect the team’s ticket pricing. “The KPMG report is an independent consultant’s projection prepared for the Empire State Development Corporation of how the economics of the arena might work and the actual numbers may very,” said Baum.

They might, but they were based on Forest City Ratner projections, and those projections have now seen the light of day.

Emphasis on cheap seats

The Courier-Life article stated:
Brooklyn’s hardworking basketball fans will not be forgotten once the NBA’s Nets land in Brooklyn, according to team spokesperson Barry Baum.

Baum’s comments fly in the face of a recent published report touting that tickets for Nets games, once the team comes to Brooklyn, are estimated to go for between $51 and $970 each.

The KPMG report indeed cited those numbers, which have not been refuted, but omitted the 2000 "screecher seats."

The article continued to emphasize the sunny side:
“We want to make Nets games in Brooklyn as accessible for everyone and so we’re providing 2,000 $15 tickets for all regular season games in the upper bowl seats,” said Baum.

Baum also noted that the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), signed with eight local community based organizations, calls for the team to designate one luxury suite, four seats in the lower bowl and 50 seats in the upper bowl for community seats.

All true, but it misses the point. The move to Brooklyn would be less about "Brooklyn's hardworking basketball fans" than maximizing revenue from some corporations and high-rollers who could pay sweet prices for suites not available in the current facility.