On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams chat with Brooklyn Nets CEO John Abbamondi about the business surrounding the hottest team in the NBA. Led by Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, the Nets have a 2-0 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Abbamondi discusses the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the permanent changes that have come as a result of the last 12 months. The Nets built an American Express contactless shop in the Barclays Center, which allows fans to grab food or merchandise without waiting in line. The team is also developing a new courtside club that it hopes will be “the best reviewed restaurant opening in New York City this fall.”
In the arena, the team is essentially back at full capacity, with more than 15,000 people at Game 2 vs. the Bucks. Abbamondi said that not only are the seats full, but fans are also spending more on merchandise and concessions, the NBA’s version of the pent-up demand that is evident across much of retail right now.
He also talks about the long-term horizon for BSE Global, which owns the Nets, New York Liberty, Barclays Center and a handful of other teams and venues. That includes a push to reach a wider group of local fans—as two examples, Abbamondi mentioned the team’s alternate jerseys, inspired by late New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and a new program with local radio station Hot 97, in which the team is selling 97 tickets for each playoff home game for $9.71.