By Barry Janoff, Executive Editor
April 6, 2011: There is no looking back in the rear view mirror for the NBA's Nets, a team that has lost more than 100 games over the past two seasons. For the franchise, it's all about looking forward out the front windshield and seeing Brooklyn on the not-so-distant horizon.
After years of being hindered by legal situations, logistics and local roadblocks, team management this past November was finally able to break ground and begin the venue's building process. Now, the Nets have unveiled several strategic initiatives intended to jump-start the franchise's relocation from New Jersey to Brooklyn, NY, in 2012.
Last week, ownership led by Mikhail Prokhorov and Bruce Ratner unveiled a plan under which current season ticket holders at the Prudential Center in Newark could buy "All Access" premium season tickets for Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which will be the Nets' new permanent home beginning with the 2012-13 NBA season. Ticket plans for other seats will be implemented throughout 2011.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Barclays Center official grand opening would be Sept. 28, 2012, and that for the first weeks of September 2012 the venue would be used to "host public events and tours to welcome and introduce the Brooklyn community to its new building."
On April 6, the Nets launched a supporting multi-media marketing campaign, "Brooklyn Bound." The opening leg of the campaign is an 80’ x 60’ billboard featuring point guard Deron Williams, located in Times Square (on Broadway between 42nd and 43rd Streets) just blocks away from Madison Square Garden, home to the rival New York Knicks.
“This Times Square billboard tips off our dynamic ‘Brooklyn Bound’ campaign, which will see us doing major outdoor advertising in Brooklyn on billboards and phone kiosks,” Brett Yormark, CEO of Nets Basketball and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, said in a statement. “Deron is arguably the best point guard in the NBA and he will be the face of our campaign as we prepare for the team’s exciting relocation to the Barclays Center of Brooklyn in 2012.”
The billboard, which will be on display through April 19, features an image of Williams and the text, "Deron Williams & The Nets: Bound For Brooklyn." The visual shows Williams, who was obtained via a trade with the Utah Jazz on Feb. 19, standing on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, preparing to shoot a basketball across the East River and into Brooklyn.
In addition to naming rights partner Barclays, the Barclays Center currently has 12 major partners: ADT, Cushman & Wakefield, Stolichnaya, EmblemHealth, MetroPCS, MGM Grand at Foxwoods, Willis, Jones Soda, Haier America, Phillips-Van Heusen, Anheuser-Busch and High Point Solutions.
The Barclays Center is being designed with about 18,000 seats for basketball and up to 19,000 seats for concerts. It will feature 104 luxury suites, including 15 Brownstone Suites (16 seats each), 68 Loft Suites (10 seats each), 11 Cabana Suites, six Studio Suites and four Party Suites. The arena will also include six clubs and restaurants. Among other deals, Phillips-Van Heusen division IZOD will operate a retail store within the venue.
Among the events already booked at the venue are boxing matches under the auspices of Golden Boy Promotions; more than 48 shows from Feld Entertainment, whose productions include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Harlem Globetrotters and Disney on Ice; pro tennis and college hockey and basketball; and concerts likely to include Nets minority owner Jay-Z and his wife, Beyoncé.
“This Times Square billboard tips off our dynamic ‘Brooklyn Bound’ campaign, which will see us doing major outdoor advertising in Brooklyn."
The venue could also host the NBA All-Star Game in 2013 or 2014.
“We will open the Barclays Center with a three-week run of the best and most diverse entertainment this market has ever seen,” said Yormark. “Our line-up of premier concerts and events will create the most anticipated opening ever for a major new sports and entertainment venue. We plan to announce details of our programming schedule throughout this year and look forward to providing an unparalleled grand opening experience for our visitors at the Barclays Center.”
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