A consultant's report unearthed by a long-time critic and chronicler of the Barclays Center and Atlantic Yards (now Pacific Park) reveals that the Nets gate count --the actual number of fans who showed up at the arena-- was "more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity."
That, suggests Norman Oder, would mean only 11,622 fans showed per game. The official attendance figures, the ones announced each game, are based on tickets sold. The gate count, which is not public, represents those who actually attend the games, pass through the gate. Those numbers are rarely revealed.
The same consultant's report, according to Oder, disclosed a drop of 33 percent in arena profits from Nets games.
Oder included an excerpt from the report, prepared by Convention Sport & Leisure, the consultant... highlighting it for emphasis.
Oder extrapolated the 11,622 figure based on a 22 percent drop from the 14,900 gate count the Nets averaged over their first three years. There's no indication of where that number ranks among NBA clubs, but the Nets announced attendance figure was 27th in the NBA.
The consultants report was attached to the filing the arena operating company filed seeking refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). According to Oder and others, the refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, by an average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction costs.
The document also assures bondholders that the Nets will continue to make money for the arena, but "it will be important for the Arena that the Nets field a competitive team on the court into the future."
The Nets declined to comment.
Prokhorov is refinancing arena debt to take advantage of historically low interest rates. It may also be a further indication of a shift in his investment strategy, from Russian-based assets to sports and entertainment. Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment is his U.S. investment vehicle. It includes Barclays Center, the HSS Training Center, Nassau Coliseum and the Brooklyn Paramount Theater.
Oder also revealed that the Islanders actually averaged 11,200 fans per game, which is 2,700 fewer people than announced, or 19.4%. Overall, 11,200 fans is 70.9% of arena capacity. And as reported, the consultant's report noted that the Islanders are considering a move out of Barclays.