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Did the Nets sell out on Friday? Yes, they did

Al Bello

Over the last few days, there have been reports that the Nets didn't sell out Barclays Center on Friday night. Not true, but it's not surprising either. Even ESPN gets it wrong sometimes. On Friday night, they listed the crowd at 17,732, saying that's only 98 percent of capacity and thus, not a sellout. The number was right. The percentage was wrong.

How'd it happen and what's the ramifications? Here's one: The Nets actually sold a higher percentage of seats last season than their cross-river rival. Who knew?

ESPN Attendance Tracker lists the capacity of Barclays Center at 18,000. While that was the number floated around before Barclays opened, the Nets made some changes before the arena opened and the actual capacity is 17,732.

The big change that led to the reduced capacity --a section of seating was converted to loge seating -- took place just before the arena opened. That and some other small changes dropped the capacity from 18,000 to the final number of 17,732. That number has long been listed on the Nets official website. ESPN apparently never got the memo.

The disparity affected the Nets attendance rankings on last season. For the 2012-13 season, the average home attendance was reported on the ESPN site as 17,187, which it reported was 94.9 percent of capacity, good for 12th place. Do the math and you get a capacity of more than 18,000 as the ESPN baseline! Using the accurate capacity of 17,732, the average home attendance of 17,187 is actually 96.9 percent of seats sold, not 94.9 percent.

Correcting that is important for a number of reasons, but here's the key one: The inaccurate 94.9 figure ranks the Nets as 12th on the ESPN attendance tracker in terms of percentage of seats sold. If they had used the accurate capacity of 17,732, the 96.9 figure puts them at 10th for 2012-13 ... just ahead of the Knicks (!), whose percentage was 96.3, and just behind the Warriors, whose fans have a reputation as being among the best in the NBA.

A team insider said late Monday that the problem is being corrected, that team officials reached out to ESPN Monday morning (after a NetsDaily inquiry). The NBA, the insider noted, had the correct number, but everyone wanted to make sure ESPN was accurate as well.