Can The Brooklyn Nets Really Steal Fans Away From The New York Knicks?
Surely, this isn’t possible. Ever since the New York Knickberbockers were founded 65 years ago, they’ve been New York’s NBA team. For years now, they’ve played at Madison Square Garden, the World’s Most Famous Arena. They’ve attracted the biggest stars looking to play under the brightest lights in the NBA. And they’ve gotten the support of Wall Street yuppies and Madison Avenue tycoons, who’ve flocked to the Garden during good times—and bad!—to see the Knicks play.
But, the Nets—yes, the Nets, the same team that has called northern New Jersey home for years now—are looking to change all of that. And they’re using the NBA lockout and their brand-new, state-of-the-art Barclays Center to try and persuade the bigwigs on Wall Street to bring their business to Brooklyn in 2012, where they will be welcomed with open arms as the Nets tip off the 2012-2013 NBA season in BK. Recently, they launched an advertising campaign that’s seen a handful of signs for the Barclays Center go up on and around Wall Street that read “10 Minutes From Wall Street” to try and get fans excited about the Nets move to Brooklyn.
It’s an interesting proposition by the Nets, considering that they haven’t been good in years now, but a proposition that many Knicks fans should take seriously. For starters, the Nets are moving out of New Jersey in 2012 and shedding a lot of the dead weight fans that have supported the franchise in recent times. Almost out of obligation, NBA fans in New Jersey have rooted for the Nets to do well. But as someone who lives in New Jersey, I can tell you that I know zero people who actually root for the Nets faithfully. More appropriately, we all wish them the best, but go about our business of cheering for the Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, and just about anyone and everyone but the Nets during the NBA season.
The problem is that the 76ers and, more specifically, the Knicks don’t really offer better options when it comes to success on the court. The Knicks haven’t been very good for the last decade or so and, even with the emergence of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire last year, they didn’t quite recapture all of the Knicks fans that they lost over the course of the last ten years. That doesn’t mean we didn’t see plenty of Knicks fans hopping back on the bandwagon, but the Knicks certainly haven’t solidified themselves as the team to watch in the NBA yet, which is what they’d have to do to get New York City’s full attention again.
Which is why the Nets have a fighter’s chance of replacing them as New York’s premier basketball team. Thought MSG is undergoing a massive renovation right now, the Garden is, frankly, old. It’s a legendary arena and players love playing there. But for younger fans looking for a great place to catch an NBA game, the Barclays Center is going to be the place to be. Additionally, fans who jump on board the Nets’ bandwagon now have the chance to be a part of something from the start. They don’t need to read the history books to remember when their team was good. They simply need to start attending games at the Barclays Center now to see how the Brooklyn Nets (or whatever they’ll be called) will write the first few chapters of their history. What’s done is done in New Jersey and their move to Brooklyn will give them the opportunity to hit the restart button.
We’re not saying that Knicks fans should flock to Brooklyn in droves to start supporting the Nets in 2012. All we’re saying is that the Nets are smart for going on the offensive right now and trying to steal fans away from the Knicks. With the struggles the Knicks have faced in recent times, the Nets offer Knicks fans the chance to be a part of something that’s new and fresh. And, if nothing else, they provide a stadium that’ll no doubt be filled with electricity when the Nets tip off in 2012. From the celebs that will line the court to the young fans who will be happy to see Brooklyn get its’ own team, the place is going to be a sight to see for all NBA fans.
And if some of those fans happen to call themselves ex-Knicks fans, well, we won’t be surprised at all. For once, it’s going to be cool to be a Nets fan. So we’re sure that we’re about to start seeing plenty of them around.