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When did the Barclays Center lose out on the 2013 NBA All-Star game? Maybe back in April 2011. Why 2014 may be in question, too.

After the Barclays Center began construction in 2010, with an expected opening for basketball in October 2012, there was some speculation that the new Brooklyn arena could host the NBA All-Star game and the surrounding weekend festivities in February 2013.

Take, for example, a 2/22/11 piece headlined Will Brooklyn, Nets Be Ready To Host The NBA All-Star Game? by Barry Janoff on
Even without Carmelo Anthony, there is an all-star coming to the NBA's Nets in the near future — either the 2013 or 2014 NBA All-Star Game.
But two key questions may not be answered for several months: Will the Nets' new venue, Barclays Center in Brooklyn be completed as scheduled in 2012? And will the arrival of Anthony with the New York Knicks tip the All-Star Game scales in favor of Madison Square Garden?
Well, the arena likely will be completed--just barely--in time for the scheduled 9/28/12 opening, with a Jay-Z concert.

But delays along the way likely were enough to take 2013 out of the running. And they might even affect 2014.

Pushing back the final completion date

I reported 4/12/11 that a consultant's report indicated that the arena was falling behind earlier predictions:
  • the substantial completion date has been nudged back two weeks from 8/12/12 to 8/27/12
  • a final completion date, involving punch list work and subcontractor close-outs, has been pushed back three-and-a-half months, from 2/28/13 to 6/14/13.
There was no explanation for such a dramatic change in the final completion date. But it's plausible that, once the arena builders recognized that they couldn't meet the end-of-February date, they decided not to press too hard.

That end-of-February date was eleven days after the 2/17/13 date of the All-Star Game, which meant that nearly everything would have been shipshape by the latter date.

While the arena obviously will open this September when substantially complete, it's plausible to think that neither the NBA nor arena operators would want to parade the building on the international stage if significant punch list work--fixing damaged or inadequate components--is not completed.

(Delays in completing the Prudential Center in Newark led to a dispute between the New Jersey Devils and the Newark Housing Authority, which owns the arena, as noted by the Star-Ledger.)

It also may be unclear just how and when construction of towers around the arena will be occurring. Forest City Ratner could still be building the first tower, or have started on the second one. Or there could be a pause between the two.

Announcement pattern: more than a year in advance

Just last week, the NBA unveiled Houston as the host city for the 2013 All-Start Game, leading Janoff to write that "[t]here is strong speculation that the 2014 All-Star Game could be played in Brooklyn, NY." It also could be held in a renovated Madison Square Garden.

Well, maybe. There will be a new Brooklyn arena.

But the NBA typically reveals its decision well more than a year in advance. This year the NBA lockout delayed the announcement, though word leaked on 8/11/11 that Houston would host the 2013 All-Star Game.

The 2012 All-Star Game was awarded to Orlando, in an announcement by commissioner David Stern on May 4, 2010.

A chance for Brooklyn? 2015

If  that timing's the pattern, the NBA should pick its 2014 All-Star venue between May and August 2012.

That doesn't bode well for Brooklyn. Even if the arena is nearly complete, it still will not have been tested in operation. (Some of the same questions may apply to the MSG renovation.)

Yes, the 2012 All-Star Game was awarded to Orlando before its new arena opened 10/1/10. But no venue in the league is located in a more delicate location, encroaching on a residential district. They should want to test the operations, and evaluate the supporting infrastructure: traffic, transit, hotels, etc.

Surely the league wants to hold All-Star Games in new venues.

But if the NBA wants to decide on the 2014 site by August 2012, I'd bet against Brooklyn. A better bet would be Oklahoma City or another city that has not yet hosted the All-Star Game.

However, presuming that the Barclays Center is up and running--and reached final completion, as now scheduled, by June 2013, with operational kinks worked out--it's quite plausible that Brooklyn will host an All-Star Game. In February 2015.