Rapper Jay-Z announced Monday that he will be the first performer to play at the Barclays Center when it opens next September. NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
He's a part-owner of the team, but until now, Jay-Z has largely stayed behind the scenes when it comes to the Nets.
That changed Monday when the hip hop icon and entrepreneur moved front and center as part of a major marketing campaign.
"I asked for two things from my partners in ownership is that we name the New Jersey Nets the Brooklyn Nets, and the second one is that I open it with a concert. So we're opening this arena right here with a concert. Maybe one, maybe two, maybe three," said Jay-Z.
The arena is set to open in September next year, and tickets for the 2012-2013 basketball season are already on sale.
The franchise is hoping Jay-Z will help generate buzz for its premium ticket package: the “All Access Pass.”
"Jay, you are Brooklyn, and you proudly represent this great borough and the Barclays Center," said Nets CEO Brett Yormark.
The marketing strategy will extend beyond Brooklyn. Ads are now featured on taxi tops, telephone kiosks and coffee cups, particularly in Lower Manhattan, which is less than a 20 minute subway ride away.
"Downtown Manhattan will be a major emphasis of ours for marketing, and we'll really go all around the city, whether it be Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island. We're starting in Downtown this month," said Bruce Ratner, developer at Forest City Ratner.
With 75 percent of the steel erected, the Barclays Center is now half-completed.
The Barclays Center will be home not only to Nets basketball, but also boxing, college sports and family entertainment.
Many Brooklyn residents NY1 spoke with were excited about a Jay-Z concert opening the center.
"I think it's a beautiful thing. There's nobody bigger. He's from Brooklyn, it's his home. Who else to headline it but him?" said one resident.
As for the team's name, reaction was mixed.
"I'm glad they went with Brooklyn Nets than some of the other names I heard floating around,” said one resident.
"They should've ditched the name and created something different," said another.
"I think it's a great name. My grandfather had the Brooklyn Dodgers and now my grandchildren will have the Brooklyn Nets," said a third.
The arena is ready to start a new chapter in the borough.