NETS Present Barclays Center & Brooklyn Plan to Barclays Staff
March 2, 2011
LONDON—Four years ago, NETS Basketball CEO Brett Yormark and Executive Vice President/Chief Relationship Officer Leo Ehrline had the opportunity to meet with Barclays Chief Executive Robert Diamond Jr. and the Co-Chief Executives of Barclays Capital as well as Corporate & Investment Banking, Jerry del Missier and Rich Ricci.
The two parties hammered out a deal that resulted in the sale of naming rights for the team’s yet-to-be-built Brooklyn arena, thereafter dubbed the “Barclays Center.” With steel finally rising for a scheduled opening in 2012, and the Nets in London for the NBA London Games 2011, Yormark, Ehrline and the team held a private event on Wednesday for staff at Barclays Capital.
“Thankfully, with the unyielding support that everyone in this room – and Barclays management – had for us, we are about to open the ‘Taj Mahal’ of any venue in the world in the summer of 2012,” Yormark said. “I’m ecstatic to be here with the team, but humbled to say thank you very much, because without each and every one of you, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Yormark and NETS coach Avery Johnson made presentations, with Johnson breaking down the team’s current situation and explaining the five reasons it was such a good one: 1) They’ve got the right players to take the team to the next level; 2) They’ve got the right people in Yormark and the business staff; 3) They’ve got the right plan, led by General Manager Billy King and the front office staff; 4) They’ve got the right owner in Mikhail Prokhorov, who’s committed to develop and spend; and 5) They’ve got the right partner in Barclays, who have him excited about continued progress regarding the move to Brooklyn.
The coach then tossed the microphone to Yormark, who showed a promotional video before launching into a Powerpoint presentation that showed off all aspects of the Barclays Center, including detailed renderings of various exterior and interior spaces. It offered a first opportunity for many Barclays staffers to get a feel for what the naming rights purchase actually entailed.
“I was blown away by the plans for the arena,” said Aman Sood, who works on the VIP support team and has been a basketball player and an NBA fan ever since getting into basketball by watching Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as a teenager.
“I didn’t know what to expect, so when they were going for the slideshow, I said (to myself), ‘The Barclays Center looks really, really cool.’ It’s definitely on my list of places I want to go for the future. It looked really, really interesting.”
After the presentations reached their conclusion, event emcee Chris Carrino (the radio play-by-play voice of the NETS) hosted a question-and-answer exchange that had Barclays staff asking about topics from how the NETS plan on realizing their goal of becoming the league’s first global franchise to a half-joke about the off-court dating success of Kris Humphries and Sasha Vujacic to a pointed query on how the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations might impact free agency.
That was followed by a raffle for tickets to the pair of games against the Raptors, to be played Friday and Saturday. Finally, the players split off into photo and signing groups, alternating halfway and offering a chance at 1-on-1 interaction.
“I thought the event today was spectacular,” Sood said. “For these guys to take the time out of their day, their really hectic schedule, for them to come along, make an appearance, take questions, we all really appreciate that – we’re all very grateful for them coming along. And it’s a humbling experience because we don’t get the opportunity to meet NBA players on a day-to-day basis or the opportunity to go to games. So to have this opportunity to get in front of them was really unique, very fantastic. I loved it. Really, really good.”