Skip to main content

It's All New: Nets tout Newark move for two years (but maybe three)

With a happy talk press conference and a new web site, Nets brass, along with reps from the city of Newark, the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the New Jersey Devils yesterday launched an effort to publicize the team's interim home at the Prudential Center and the team's potential for progress via a new owner, a high pick in the NBA draft, and cap space to attract free agents.

One unresolved issue: how long they might actually stay in Newark. Nets Sports & Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark was on-message, stating it would be two years, while an NBA official and Newark Mayor Cory Booker were a little more equivocal, allowing the possibility of three years.

Given that Yormark's previous predictions have been a tad unreliable and the Newark lease has a reported two-year extension, it's best not to be too certain.

The press conference video



From the press conference

At the press conference, Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek said "we look forward to providing a game day experience second to none. Chip Hallock, President/CEO of Newark Regional Business Partnership, cited the impact of the arena on restaurants and the opportunity the team's move will provide for law firms in Newark "to give clients a great experience."

NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said, "I just want to say on behalf of the league how pleased we are that the Nets will be playing in this building for at least the next two years."

Yormark (at 10:45) was more definitive: "We look forward to our two years here at the Prudential Center in Newark. For us, the time was right for a change before we make our final relocation to Brooklyn in 2012."

Attendees, he said, "will see a best in class approach to both entertainment and basketball." He also announced that the team would sell 500 $299 season tickets to Newark residents.

Future is bright?

Yormark touted the new TV commercial (below) that kicks off the It's All New campaign and serves as the centerpiece of the new web site (right).

Citing the team's advantages, including $23.3 million to spend, he said, "I think you'll agree: our future is very bright."

New York Magazine agreed, but with a big caveat: The Nets Are Actually in Great Shape, If You’re Okay With Seizing Private Property on Behalf of a Billionaire.

And one commenter on the Star-Ledger's web site reminded readers that the proof is in the pudding:
Will moving to Newark make them play any better? Perhaps the newer wood in the Prudential Center will be more favorable to the ball bouncing better and going in the home team's basket. Let them go back to NY if they continue to play this bad. I heard court side tickets are selling for $3. BAZINGA.
Perhaps recognizing that sentiment, the one player to appear at the press conference, Kris Humphries, acknowledged the need to play well. But he was schooled in the lingo: "We're excited about getting out in the community... and building the brand."

Enthusiastic mayor

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who later appeared with a Nets jersey (reminiscent of that press conference with jerseys for Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Gov. George Pataki, etc), called it "an extraordinary moment in the history of Newark, NJ... America's Number One comeback city."

Then Booker waxed enthusiastic. "Basketball is not just game. It is not," he said, citing the importance of events to local businesses.

Indeed, it could be argued that an arena makes more of of difference in Newark, where there was little upward movement on development, than in Brooklyn.

"Basketball is not just a game," Booker continued. "There are children all over this country, by watching basketball from afar, and especially when they get up close, find a strong source of inspiration, and models, and begin to elevate their game, not only on the basketball court but their believe in what is possible in life."

Really? Maybe after watching an NBA games, they think all timeouts should be filled with deafening, distracting entertainment.

The Q&A: impact on Newark

During the Q&A segment, the New York Times's Richard Sandomir said that, while he understands the excitement, "it's only for two, maybe three years. Won't the impact go away?"

"You can't discount the tangible impact those two to three years are going to have," Booker responded, citing new revenue and "the inspiration it will have for our kids."

"And then I have an audacious and impossible dream," he said. "My impossible dream is we will show... that NBA basketball is so exciting, so explosive, so successful... that the NBA will think hard about whether this is a city that should have basketball in perpetuity."

(Here's more from the Record on that possibility.)

Increased turnout

The Star-Ledger's Dave D'Alessandro asked about estimates for increased turnout and revenue.

Yormark noted that the more than 12,000 tickets were sold for preseason games without requiring season ticket holders to buy them, and the team's regional fan base increased. He also noted that 36% came by rail--a mode unavailable to the Izod Center.

He said new sponsors would be announced.

Silver said, in response to a question, that the NBA will approve new ownership "probably some time in early to mid-April."

Will Nets pay for police? No

A reporter asked about the cost of extra police overtime: will the Nets reimburse the city?

The answers were evasive. Booker joked that he'd play sixth man on the bench and his salary should cover it. He added that he and Vanderbeek "are inches away from a big announcement" regarding revenue-sharing issues and more.

He added that the city gets revenue from parking and hotel taxes, that season tickets would be discounted, that the Nets would be stepping up philanthropically and that players will be in neighborhoods. "We're going to have a lot of fun with an NBA team for the next two to three years," he said.

Yormark added happy talk: "I would just echo the mayor's sentiments... to be truly successful, we all must win... We are committed and very much look forward to getting this started."

From the Times

Sandomir's Times coverage, headlined Nets Laud Future Newark Home as a Bridge to Brooklyn, noted Booker's quote that “It’ll be a lot of fun for the next two to three years." (It did not disclose the Times Company's business relationship with developer Forest City Ratner.)

It gave some details:
The deal to move the Nets to Newark was announced last month by Gov. Christopher J. Christie.

The Nets agreed to pay $4 million to their landlord, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, to get out of their Izod Center lease, which was supposed to run through the 2012-13 season. The Nets can defray the charge by paying for two suites at the Prudential Center on behalf of the Sports Authority and by donating money to Newark Symphony Hall.
The advertisement


On CNBC

Later yesterday, in a piece headlined NJ Nets Offer Tax Giveaway, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo caught up with Yormark to talk about the promotion that got so much ink this week.

Do you think this offer is really going to work, she asked.

"We sold a couple of thousand tickets against this promotion," declared Yormark. Maybe he's right. The announced attendance was 15,320.

Then again, does this photo (cropped) look like the arena was mostly full?

Yormark also discussed the move to Brooklyn and the scheduled March 11 groundbreaking. One nugget: "Jay-Z will be there, he's part of the family."

Though Jay-Z owns a tiny slice of the team, he's a celebrity owner, and he's come through at multiple press conferences.










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…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …

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…

"There is no alternative": DM Glen on de Blasio's affordable housing strategy

As I've written, Mayor Bill de Blasio sure knows how to steer and spin coverage of his affordable housing initiatives.

Indeed, his latest announcement, claiming significant progress, came with a pre-press release op-ed in the New York Daily News and then a friendly photo-op press conference with an understandably grateful--and very lucky--winner of an affordable housing lottery.

To me, though, the most significant quote came from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
said public housing had been “starved” of federal support for years now, leaving the city with fewer ways of creating affordable housing. “Are we relying too heavily on the private sector?” she said. “There is no alternative.” Though Glen was using what she surely sees as a common-sense phrase, it recalls the slogan of a politician with whom I doubt de Blasio identifies: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative who believed in free markets.

It suggests the limits to …