Fans Experience Nets at Prudential Center In Newark
December 8th, 2010
NEWARK, N.J.—It took one game for the Nets to prove it really is all new at the Prudential Center in 2010, with the team coming from behind to defeat the Pistons in dramatic fashion on October 27 in Newark. Down seven with 1:40 to play, the Nets went on a 9-0 run that featured new additions Jordan Farmar and Anthony Morrow hitting clutch three-pointers, along with a three-point play from star guard Devin Harris.
When Morrow’s three swished, the building erupted with a roar, and the crowd remained on its feet through the final buzzer. The Nets had earned a victory 18 games earlier than they did a year ago, and head coach Avery Johnson offered an effusive assessment:
“Wonderful,” said Johnson, who joined the Nets in June. “If we can bottle up that crowd, that was perfect. It was just unbelievable, the energy in that building. The crowd in the fourth quarter helped us win the game. They were screaming ‘DE-fense!’ It was loud. They were on their feet. I thought it was great.”
That was the first of many exciting finishes for Nets fans this season, as all but two of the first 10 home games have been decided in the final minutes. The Nets’ 4-6 home record features victories against playoff teams like the Hawks (53 wins in 2009-10) and Trail Blazers (50), as well as closely contested battles like a one-point, last-second loss to the Magic or a triple-overtime defeat against the Thunder that included a three at the regulation buzzer by Morrow. Except for a pair of blowout losses to the Heat and Celtics, the Nets have lost the other four games by eight points combined.
“The crowds, they’ve been very supportive,” said Harris, now in his third full season with the team. “We’ve had a lot of close games and they’ve been right with us to the end and it’s been a lot better atmosphere.”
The enthusiasm has been bolstered by energetic fans, like third-year season-ticket holder Effi Alter.
“You see more fans coming to watch the game, and it’s a better arena – we have fun!” he said, from his front-row seats behind the visitors’ bench. “There is improvement from last year, and we’re seeing (good) basketball, period.”
Though Alter opts to drive to the games, all fans have easy public transportation access to Prudential Center via nearby Newark Penn Station. Options to travel include NJ Transit – a quick ride that takes less than 20 minutes from New York’s Penn Station – and the PATH, which costs only $1.75 each way.
Before the season, Nets swingman and Seattle native Terrence Williams took an NJ Transit ride to Prudential Center, and found it to be quick and convenient: “There’s no train in Seattle. They’ve got a light rail transit now, but I never took that – I always had cars. But this is definitely way better than I thought. I might actually take this to the game instead of driving.”
Once they arrive at Prudential Center, the fan experience becomes immersive, with action and entertainment being provided from the moment they enter the arena. All fans have access to a pair of hospitality areas: 1) The Club Restaurant, located on Suite Level One, which offers an upscale a la carte menu featuring American cuisine and a multi-concept buffet, as well as an extensive wine list and full bar; and 2) The Bud Light Goal Bar, also located on Suite Level One, which offers a select food menu and is a full bar while additionally serving as the staging area for the Nets’ postgame radio show with Chris Carrino, Tim Capstraw and Seth Everett.
If they’re hoping to score great prizes, fans can swing by the Nets Foundation Fun Zone on the Main Concourse outside of the Fire Lounge and shoot hoops to help benefit the Nets Foundation, which supports programs and initiatives that focus on youth, education and strengthening local communities. Fans looking to join Nets Nation can do so at the team’s Social Media Booth, and anyone looking to vote their favorite Nets into the 2011 All-Star Game in Los Angeles can head over to the Balloting table. Both are located on the Main Concourse.
During breaks in the action, fans are treated to performances by Nets mascot Sly Fox and Mini-Sly, the NETS Dancers, NETSational Seniors, NETS Kids, Team Hype, the NETS Drumline and special guests like hip-hop legends Salt N’ Pepa. And they might catch a glimpse of celebrities like team investor and cultural icon Jay-Z, R&B superstar Beyoncé, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, Newark Mayor Cory Booker or New York Jet Santonio Holmes.
The family-friendly feeling hit home for ESPN anchor Linda Cohn, who attended Sunday’s game against the Celtics with her son.
“Honestly, what brought me out to the game tonight is my son Dan, who’s the biggest Net fan I know – and that’s a great reason,” said Cohn. “I love that the Nets are in this arena. It’s the first time I’ve been here and it’s fantastic. I love the vibe, and the crowd really gets into it here. It really is a show on and off the court.”