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In the Battle of Brooklyn Values, Nets Score a Cultural Victory

Barclays Center will be home to the Nets, the Ringling Bros. (and possibly Moscow) Circus, concerts by a famous rapper or two or three, boxing, college hoops, and now culture.  In what is a coup for the Nets and Bruce Ratner, the arena has made a deal with the Brooklyn Academy of Music to host three or four high-end cultural performances a year.

Arena plans include an capability to cut the size of the venue down to 3,500 to 6,000 seats using acoustic curtains and lighting, creating an "intimate theatre".

It's a tiny number of dates --the Nets have booked 150 out of a promised 200+ events so far-- but the arrangement will give the arena an advantage in the continuing war with critics over the value of putting an 18,000-seat sports facility in brownstone Brooklyn. Having the announcement wind up on the front page of the New York Times doesn't hurt either.

"So here you have a place like BAM, which is a great contemporary-arts cultural institution, and then you have an arena, which, people think about sports and circus and so on," Ratner said. "And then you put them together, and then I think you’ve got something special."