NBA PM: Nets Invading Knicks’ Turf
It’s going to take more than a sponsor revolt for the Brooklyn Nets to declare victory in their turf war with the New York Knicks. But if we had to pinpoint the day the Nets struck their first major blow, Monday would be a good candidate.
For over a decade credit card giant American Express had advertised at Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks and the NHL’s Rangers brought the company face to face with some of the most affluent people in New York City. After all, being seen courtside—or ringside—at MSG has been a staple of the city’s elite since the building actually sat on Madison Ave.
And while nobody is threatening MSG’s status as a place where the mega rich (Anna Wintour, Ben Stiller, Howard Stern, etc.) like to convene, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is drawing all sorts of attention.
On Monday AmEx and the Barclays Center—which was developed by Forrest City Ratner, a company owned by Nets minority owner Bruce Ratner—entered a “multi-tiered alliance.” American Express is now the presenting sponsor of the Barclays Center restaurant and box office as well as the eighth founding partner of the arena.
American Express card members will have enhanced access to tickets and merchandise—before public release, in some cases—and they’ll also have opportunities to attend “specially designed private experiences.”
The details of sponsorship may be a bore to basketball fans, but this is a major change in the economic landscape of New York City. Before, if a brand wanted to be noticed, MSG’s combination of venue and the frequency of its events were perfect. The Knicks have 41 home games a year (as opposed to just 16 home games for the Jets and Giants at MetLife Stadium) and it was right in the heart of midtown Manhattan.
But now MSG finally has some legitimate competition.
The Nets previously played at the Prudential Center and the Izod Center, the latter a company that paid around $1.4 million per season for naming rights. That may sound like a lot, but Barclays paid $200 million for naming rights in Brooklyn.
And things aren’t just changing on billboards and on the hardwood. The Barclays Center is competing for a leg up on the marquee as well. In addition to booking big acts like Barbara Streisand and Jay-Z (as if the Nets minority owner had a choice), the “Coaches vs. Cancer” college basketball tournament and The New York Daily News Golden Gloves Tournament are both moving across the East River as well.
The Nets aren’t simply trying to compete with the Knicks in the Atlantic Division Standings. This is a war on all fronts, and the Madison Square Garden company, brand and venue are all under attack.
Andrei Kirilenko Still Weighing His Options
There’s been a lot of talk about Andrei Kirilenko over the last few days. Nets general manager Billy King dropped the former Utah Jazz forward’s name in an interview with Fox Sports Radio, but the two parties had been linked for long before that.
Obviously Kirilenko has connections to owner Mikhail Prokhorov (Kirilenko supported Prokhorov’s failed presidential bid), but it’s important to remember that the Nets only have the veteran’s minimum to offer AK47.
The Nets could still use a backup at small forward (and Kirilenko could also help out at power forward as well), but it’s a lot to ask of an established player to fill a small role for relatively little money.
Of course, as one NBA league executive told HOOPSWORLD, nobody expected Antawn Jamison to sign with the Lakers for the vet’s minimum. If Kirilenko feels leaving CSKA Moscow could make him an NBA Champion with the Nets, he might be inclined to sign a one-year deal.
Oct. 30: Ray Allen vs. Boston Celtics
The full NBA regular season schedule is expected to be announced later this week, but as is usually the case, we’re catching wind of some important games beforehand.
Specifically, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel is reporting that the defending champion Miami HEAT will begin their regular season at home against the Boston Celtics on Oct. 30.
Obviously the Celtics’ 2011-2012 campaign ended in an Eastern Conference Finals loss to the HEAT, who later compounded Boston’s pain by winning an NBA Title and signing Ray Allen as a free agent.
Miami will receive its championship ring before the game, which is interesting because, as Winderman pointed out, the last time the HEAT received championship rings, they lost to the Chicago Bulls by 42 points on Oct. 31, 2006.
As Winderman reported, the HEAT will have a rematch of the NBA Finals on Christmas Day when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder, they’ll travel to Madison Square Garden on Nov. 2 for a game against the Knicks (whom they defeated in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs); Miami will make its only visit to Brooklyn to face the Nets on Jan. 30 and the HEAT will host the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 10.
Baron Davis Waits
Longtime NBA veteran Baron Davis isn’t expected to play next season. As you may remember, the former Knick suffered a gruesome ACL and patella tear during the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Of course, it will take a lot more than that to take Davis away from basketball.
He spoke with HOOPSWORLD recently about his knee and his future in the NBA.
Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to insure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @jfleminghoops, @TheRocketGuy, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @alexraskinNYC, @SusanBible, @DPageHoopsWorld , @stephenlitel , @stevesraptors, @TommyBeer and @YannisHW.