Field of Schemes
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May 04, 2004

Arena study confusion

Andrew Zimbalist's study of the proposed Brooklyn Nets arena hasn't even been on the streets 24 hours, and already the New York Post has gotten it wrong. In an article headed "NETS GOOD SPORT$," Gersh Kuntzman reports that "developer Bruce Ratner's proposed arena for the New Jersey Nets in Downtown Brooklyn would pump more than $800 million into city and state coffers over the next 30 years" - in actuality that's Zimbalist's net public revenue figure from the entire project, not just the arena. (The arena site also isn't in Downtown Brooklyn, but never mind that for the moment.)

(Late note: Kuntzman writes to say he understood Zimbalist's findings, but was just using "shorthand.")

Other oddities in Zimbalist's report, as pointed out by Prospect Heights Action Coalition activist Gustav Peebles: Lacking data on the state of residence for Nets single-game ticket buyers, Zimbalist substituted figures from the Jets instead, an odd choice, given that New York City sports fans must travel to Jersey to see football, but have a basketball team of their own in the Knicks. (49% of Jets single-game buyers live outside New Jersey, as opposed to 32% of Nets season-ticket holders.) Also, Zimbalist notes in a footnote that Ratner's revenue projections for the arena assume "the eventual closing of the [Continental Airlines Arena and] no new arena in Newark," which raises the question of where the New Jersey Devils would play under this scenario - unless Ratner is forecasting one heck of an NHL lockout.

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