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At Partner Summit, Nets Show Off

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Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment
Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment

Earlier this month, Brett Yormark quietly gathered a group of potential sponsors at Barclays Center, gave them a tour of the site and introduced them to David Stern. And they heard a lot of news, including that the billion dollar arena could host the All-Star Game in 2015.

Among the other news, as Sports Business Journal reports exclusively:

--The next arena sponsor to be announced is Calvin Klein, whose black-and-white corporate identity matches that of the Nets. Calvin Klein brand will appear on some of the arena’s high-end seating areas.

--Four of the 11 "Vault" suites, the high end Jay-Z designed suites, have been sold at a cost of $550,000 per year with a three year commitment.

--While the arena awaits the end of the Islanders' lease, officials are considering an American Hockey League franchise and the arena will host several Russian hockey league games.

--Stern revealed that that "several [NBA] owners told me this was never going to happen, even as the steel was going into the ground."

Some excerpts from the Sports Business Journal:

Rumors of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game being played at the new arena were rampant during the summit, but official confirmation from the team and league officials on hand was not forthcoming.

Nets officials announced a schedule of 183 ticketed events for the arena’s first year, including college basketball, which tips off with defending national champion Kentucky playing Maryland on Nov. 9. Programming will include a variety of musical performances, including a Jay-Z concert to open the building, along with Barbra Streisand and Andrea Bocelli, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, Disney On Ice, and 48 or more other family shows from Feld Entertainment, as well as boxing through Golden Boy Promotions.

About 75 percent of the 100 suites in the arena have been sold, including four of the 11 Vault Suites, which include seats in the first 10 rows of the arena and are priced at $550,000 a year. While mum on other specific numbers, Nets officials said they have sold about 75 percent of their premium Nets seats, and the move to Brooklyn has already allowed them to double nonpremium season-ticket sales revenue.

In another nontraditional sponsorship assignment, Calvin Klein is onboard at the founding partner level. Some of the rationale for the hookup has to be the Nets’ new black and white logo syncing with Calvin Klein’s trademark, which is also black and white. The apparel brand also will make a luxury marketing play by aligning itself with some of the arena’s high-end seating areas. Remaining, or at least unannounced, top-tier sponsorship categories in the building include insurance and automobile.

"You’ve got this fan base that loves to come to our games for three hours but doesn’t plan to be disconnected and will penalize you if and when they are," [Stern] said of technology.

Stern called the new arena "extraordinary" and noted that "several owners told me this was never going to happen, even as the steel was going into the ground."

There’s also chatter in hockey circles that even before the Islanders are free to move, an AHL team might seek tenancy in the building, at least on a short-term basis. Barclays Center officials also said they are in talks with the KHL to bring its brand of Eurasian hockey to Brooklyn.