Consider Madison Square Garden on watch.
Luring the Nets from New Jersey was only Step 1 in Brooklyn’s metamorphosis into an entertainment hot spot. Next up for the borough, a ruthless bid in stealing the spotlight and the stars from MSG, New Jersey’s Prudential Center, and any other venue that books boldface names in music and sports.
There’s a new kid in town, folks, a state-of-the-art arena in Brooklyn that is gobbling up acts at an alarming rate.
College basketball is on the way, as are the Harlem Globetrotters and World Wrestling Entertainment, and before the lockout was announced, an NHL preseason game was even on tap. Indeed, it appears Barclays has balance and boom in its acts, and will stop at nothing as it quickly makes a sudden statement that it is a desired destination in an attractive borough.
And the other facilities in and around New York may never be the same again.
“In the past, Brooklynites had to leave our borough for world-class entertainment and sports and head over to Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Nassau County … Newark or East Rutherford,” Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said. “Hello. Not anymore.”
Brooklyn is going hard and if this current clip keeps up, it may become the No. 1 tour stop in the region. Jay-Z, the Nets’ part owner and hip-hop icon, will christen the Barclays Center with eight sold-out shows opening Friday. Holla!
He’s not alone. Barbra Streisand, a Brooklyn native like Jay-Z, will perform for the first time in her native borough Oct. 11.
These megastar acts will raise the curtain on what Barclays expects to become a 220-event-a-year center, and create a little competition with the world’s most famous arena. The budding Barclays-MSG bidding war, in fact, is already more heated than the Knicks-Nets rivalry.
The Golden Gloves finals dumped MSG for the first time in its 86-year history for the 19,000-seat Barclays. Bocelli had played nine straight holiday shows at MSG before bolting this year for a Dec. 5 concert at Barclays.
Other defections from MSG and New Jersey arenas include college basketball’s Coaches vs. Cancer tournament, the Legends Classic and the Atlantic 10 tournament.
But without question, none of the other facilities are intimidated by Brooklyn. This is after all, the New York market we’re talking about, and there will always be plenty of acts to book.
Robert Sommer, president of Rock Entertainment Management at the Prudential Center, declined comment. And MSG insists it doesn’t feel threatened by the younger, hipper arena at all.