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So, did Jay-Z propose the Nets' black-and-white color scheme? In new book, architect claims credit

Rafi Kohan's entertaining, eclectic book The Arena, subtitled "Inside the Tailgating, Ticket-Scalping, Mascot-Racing, Dubiously Funded, and Possibly Haunted Monuments of American Sport," contains a scooplet of sorts regarding the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets.

Kohan writes, "Jay-Z has been widely credited for the team's color scheme, although Gregg Pasquarelli tells me his firm, SHoP Architects, first pushed the idea."

That's certainly plausible, given that Pasquarelli is a design professional and Jay-Z is a tastemaker. Ditto for the team logo. Remember how the Nets credited Jay-Z, but, as NetsDaily discovered, another designer did the real work.

The original claim

“The inaugural event at Barclays Center, the new home of the Brooklyn Nets, was the perfect time to reveal the new Nets jersey and there was no one more fitting than Brooklyn’s own JAY Z to do it,” Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said in a 9/29/12 press release headlined JAY Z Debuts Official Nets Jersey on Opening Night.

According to the press release, "The Brooklyn Nets, adidas and JAY Z collaborated to create an exclusive Brooklyn Nets licensed collection." That was reflected in 8/16/12 front-page coverage of Jay-Z in the New York Times, "He helped design the team logos and choose the team’s stark black-and-white color scheme, and personally appealed to National Basketball Association officials to drop their objections to it..."

Maybe Jay-Z helped, but maybe he didn't come up with it.

The book is about way more than arena design, encompassing fan behavior, scalping, food, arena logistics and more.

More on Barclays

Kohan has a section on the battle over and mixed impact--but successful marketing- of the Barclays Center. He interviewed me about my watchdog journalism, including this quote: "Is it finding fault to point out to they're not doing what they've promised to do?"

He also interviews skeptics of sports subsidies, including Brooklyn journalist Neil deMause and academic Roger Noll, who suggests that--in the author's paraphrase--"teams can no longer brazenly insist on large up-front sums from local governments" and instead would have the most leverage in smaller cities like Oklahoma City that have fewer fans and sponsors to offer.

Barclays: a stratified seating experience

Asked in an interview with Pollstar how arenas might improve, Kohan noted stratification in seating:
At Barclays Center (in Brooklyn) there are two levels of luxury seats before you get to the upper deck. Up there, you feel like you’re in the upper ozone. And it’s not to say these teams shouldn’t be trying to make money. I have no problem with that, but I feel that it’s less of a communal, consistent experience. I’ve been to a few concerts at Barclays and when I sat in those upper seats you feel so far away you wonder why you came. Maybe it goes back to the design stages but people should be thinking more about that kind of holistic experience.
In sports, like at Barclays Center, they’re trying to create this new fan base. It’s not a legacy fan base – there were no Nets fans in Brooklyn before 2012 and it’s debatable as to whether there are any now (laughs) – but I think the experience of creating some kind of community within the venue is important, some kind of shared experience. Obviously that doesn’t preclude standing-room bars or bunker suites and other add-ons, but I think when it becomes so stratified that you feel separate from what’s happening below. It takes away from everyone’s experience.

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