As fans poured into Barclays Center Friday night, a nervous group of Nets executives stood just inside the main entrance. Bruce Ratner; Brett Yormark; Barry Baum, who does PR for the team and arena; Jeff Gewirtz, the legal counsel and Fred Mangione, chief marketing officer all looked expectant for the want of a better word.
They were waiting for the 1,000,000th fan to enter the arena. That's not 1,000,000th Nets fans, but the 1,000,000th to enter the arena for a Nets game, a college hoops game, a concert or family show. It turned out to be Allison Barlow of Park Slope, Brooklyn, who walked through at just the right time. She got two tickets to every Barclays Center event for the next year (and a lot of confetti in her hair.) Later, she was honored by Ratner and Mikhail Prokhorov in an on-court ceremony during the first quarter.
For the record, the Nets have drawn 443,603 to regular season games and close to a half million when three preseason games are included. For the regular season, the Nets are averaging 17,061, a near sell-out on average for every game, putting them 16th in the league and more than 3,000 above their last season in New Jersey.
Meanwhile, MTA stats seem to prove that the Nets are having success in attracting fans from Long Island. The Long Island Rail Road reported Friday that ridership to and from Brooklyn has jumped 334 percent since the opening earlier this year of the Barclays Center at LIRR's Atlantic Terminal. The commuter line is carrying an average of 3,300 new customers on event nights, the railroad reported.
- 1,000,000th guest gets free tickets - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
She’s 1 in a million! Barclays Center celebrates its one-millionth guest - Corinne Lestch - NY Daily News
- LIRR Grows in Brooklyn as Barclays Center Proves a Big Draw - MTA