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


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.


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…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in November 2017, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won't be so cheap.


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 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…

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park in 2017: no new towers, unfilled affordable units, Islanders prepare to leave, project timetable fuzzy

My 2018 preview.

It was another wait-and-see year for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, with one big twist--the beginning of a slow goodbye for the New York Islanders--but continued delays for towers, a lost (mostly) 421-a subsidy for condos, and new skepticism about unfilled not-so-affordable housing units.

So ongoing questions linger regarding the project's pace, affordability, and even future ownership.

In my 2017 preview, I predicted--not exactly going out on a limb--that two and likely three more towers would open, though it would be unclear how fast they'd lease up and sell.

Indeed, we've learned that the middle-income below-market units at 461 Dean (which opened in 2016) and 535 Carlton have leased very slowly, while it's too soon to assess progress for commensurate units at 38 Sixth. (At 535 Carlton and 38 Sixth, middle-income units make up half the "100% affordable" buildings.) Meanwhile, many apartments are up for rent at the 550 Vanderbilt condo buildin…