Pride of Brooklyn: Golden Boy deal to put fights at Barclays
Published July 12, 2010 : Page 13
Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment has signed a three-year deal with Golden Boy Promotions to book 12 fight events annually at Barclays Center, the New Jersey Nets’ new arena targeted to open in mid-2012.
The two groups formed the partnership to develop young Brooklyn boxers and build a relationship between those athletes and the public, said Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. Together, they have committed to showcasing a wide range of talent, stretching from amateur bouts to championship fights televised on HBO and Showtime.
The key to making the partnership a success is scheduling boxing matches with greater regularity in New York and on the East Coast in general, a region that’s been hit-and-miss for securing signature fights, according to Schaefer.
“There may be two to three per year at Madison Square Garden, but it’s sporadic,” Schaefer said. “We are taking a systematic approach in building a base in Brooklyn. The talent is there.”
The Brooklyn deal is loosely modeled after what Golden Boy has done in Los Angeles at three facilities owned and operated by AEG, the largest shareholder in Golden Boy outside of principal owner Oscar De La Hoya.
Golden Boy promotes monthly fights on Friday nights at Club Nokia, a 2,000-seat venue at L.A. Live across the street from Staples Center. Those four- to six-round bouts have DJs playing music between rounds and Hollywood celebrities walking a red carpet, a complete experience for fight fans.
The 7,000-seat Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live provides a steppingstone for fighters as they gain experience and develop a following before competing at Staples Center, where Golden Boy promotes 70 percent of the arena’s boxing matches.
“The last 12 months, we have used all three venues very effectively,” Schaefer said.
In Brooklyn, with just Barclays Center to work with, up-and-coming fighters would most likely compete in a scaled-down arena, Schaefer said. It helps that the 18,500-seat facility, designed by Ellerbe Becket and SHoP Architects, has an extremely tight seating bowl that’s perfect for boxing, he said.
For Brooklyn Sports, part of the New Jersey Nets’ organization, the guaranteed dates bolster the group’s effort to market premium seats at Barclays Center. In March, the Nets announced a deal with IMG College to bring in top college basketball games every year.
“We continue to sell suites, and [prospective buyers] want to know what else is going to be in there besides the Nets,” said Brett Yormark, president and CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment.