"It's All New." That was the promotional motto of the New Jersey Nets when they moved to their Newark home, the Prudential Center.
In reality, nothing but the arena was new. There were no improvements in the squad, the losses were just as agonizing as before. Last blowout at home, and the Brooklyn Nets, sporting "B's" on their caps, packed up and moved to the stylish, brand-new arena, the Barclays Center.
The arena, which main purpose would be hosting basketball games, will offer fans 18,103 seats. Barclays Center will also host concerts (for which the seating area would be expanded to 19,000 seats), and hockey games.
It has been suggested that the New York Islanders would play their home games at Barclays Center starting in the year 2015, which makes me utterly confused. The idea makes sense for the business of the sporting center itself, but for the Islanders? Why downgrade the capacity (16,250 seats at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum versus 14,250 that the arena will offer for hockey) and increase the traveling distance for fans?
Maybe it is the greed in me talking, since I would want Barclays Center only for the Nets, but something is not right with the idea of an organization, that is drowning at the bottom of the hockey world, trying to worsen its fandom situation.
As a New Jersey resident, I must thank the Nets for not moving to Oklahoma or somewhere farther. Transportation to the Barclays Center couldn't have been made easier, as it is connected by 9 subway lines. The trip from Jersey will surely take longer, but it is made simpler by the availability of different transportation choices, be that by train, bus, or even a bike for the local Brooklyn crowd (with 400 bike parking spaces available).
The arena will open with a Jay-Z concert on September 28, and the first home regular season game for the Nets will be on November 1, against the rival New York Knicks. This might not have been of the soundest decisions, because of the amount of Knicks fans expected in the stands.
It is really hit or miss: if the Nets can pull off a victory against their hated neighbors, the Manhattan audience might rush in, put on black and white and cheer for the Nets. If the Nets lose, there might be possibility of popularity loss in the Brooklyn crowd, and the Nets surely will have to forget about any Knicks fans converting. It's a high risk, high reward kind of decision, and the fans will have to see how it plays out.
Nevertheless, it is great that after years of sharing a venue with a hockey team, which has been far more successful, the Nets will have their own place to call home. Hopefully a new place rich with sports history will inspire the team to strive for greatness.