Even thought no one can predict when NBA teams will be back in their home arenas — or more importantly, under what conditions — The Athletic surveyed its writers on which is the best, the worst and which has best and worst crowds.
Barclays Center, one of the NBA’s newest arenas, doesn’t get votes for either best of worst arena but alas the crowd is deemed one of the worst. Here’s their analysis, with a few caveats...
It will be interesting to see what the energy is like in this building when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are playing together on the Nets. But up until this point, this has mostly felt like a basketball game being played in a mausoleum. The lighting is cool and the action on the court looks great. But the crowd just simply isn’t there most nights and they aren’t very loud when they are.
“I love the building, and I love that they have theater lighting, but they’re building a fan base from scratch. It can be dead in there, but the franchise is trying though. Nets, Mets, Jets will all be second-fiddle to the blue-blood NYC franchises.”
The arena does get good marks for feeding the media, which is very much inside baseball (or basketball) for the average fan. And it and Bankers Life Fieldhouse get good marks for a unique look, which shouldn’t be seen as a surprise since the same architects used the same template to lay out both.
So when will be be allowed back in? No time soon. Certainly not for the continuation of this season. No one is yet predicting what next season will look like either. It all depends on the virus and the vaccine. At best, said one league insider, it will be sometime in 2021 before fans are back in their seats and surely by then, the experience will be different.
So what’s the best arena, per The Athletic? Madison Square Garden. And the worst? AT&T Center in San Antonio.
- The Athletic’s NBA Arena Rankings: Some buildings are always a spectacle - Zach Harper - The Athletic NBA