It’s a little tough to judge the financials of the Barclay Center on its own — buildings tend to have much higher expenses the first year (marketing is higher, for example) plus the real purpose of the arena is to anchor a full scale commercial and residential development around it. The Atlantic Yards is what can make the developers — which now includes Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov — money in the long run.
Still, in the short run the arena is not doing as well as expected.
Eliot Brown of the Journal writes that the arena will produce about $26 million in operating income in its first year, 2/3rds of the $76 million projected … and less than what the arena has to pay out to its bondholders.
Forest City Enterprises which owns 55 percent of the arena operating company attributes the shortfall to the opening costs, “to make a big splash in the first year, investing heavily in marketing, customer service and securing top acts,” writes Brown. Indeed, the arena has been the nation’s top grossing venue for concerts and family shows through the first three quarters of year one … and second in the world.
This will have no impact on the Nets — they are the star tenant of that building and Prokhorov is showing he is willing to spend on them.
He gets the big picture, that he’s going to make his money on the real estate end of this deal once the residential/commercial area of the Atlantic Yards takes off. The Nets are part of what makes that area attractive. He can afford a few losses along the way to get it up and running.