BSE Global CEO John Abbamondi was joined by Executive Director of the NYC Board of Elections Michael Ryan, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and NYC Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo in announcing on Tuesday morning that Barclays Center will serve as a polling site for the 2020 general election, hosting voters for both Early Voting from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1 and Election Day on Nov. 3.
Barclays Center will be the largest voting space in Brooklyn, an easily accessible site that will offer a safe voting experience in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the arena has been closed to events since March, it has been the site of a food kitchen providing meals to its Brooklyn neighbors and the host of virtual basketball clinics provided for free to young fans and athletes.
“It’s also obviously been a gathering place for people in our community to come together and share their points of view on the momentous issues of the day,” said Abbamondi. “So we think it’s only appropriate that Barclays Center will also become a very centrally located, easily accessible voting center.”
Tuesday’s announcement came less than a week after NBA players chose not to play playoff games, with the league and the National Basketball Players Association subsequently agreeing to a plan to use team arenas as polling places.
“We’re proud of the incredible effort, led in fact by our own NBA players, that we’ve been able to make across the NBA to have our arenas be voting centers across the country,” said Abbamondi.
“The NBA players, we need to acknowledge what they are doing,” said Adams. “They’re using this opportunity to stay part of any agreement of moving forward in sports is to ensure that we allow access to voting. The power of the vote cannot be overemphasized.”
BSE Global, the parent company of both the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, also announced plans to encourage voter participation through the company’s social media channels and digital properties.
“The last time I was here was for the Black Lives Matter protests and rallies, where thousands of people came here every single day,” said Cumbo. “They came here to join together to make sure that we had a better New York City and a better country, and it’s so critical that at this particular time, we not only come here to protest and to rally, but essentially we come here to exercise our right to vote.”
It was also within the last week that BSE Global ownership, led by Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, pledged $50 million over the next 10 years with a five-point plan to support social justice and economic mobility initiatives to benefit Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, focused primarily in Brooklyn. The Nets were also part of the NBA Foundation, in partnership with the NBPA, committing $10 million over the next 10 years to that group.
Tuesday’s announcement was made on National Poll Worker Recruitment Day. Abbamondi also announced that all BSE Global employees were eligible for a paid day off to serve as poll workers.
“Recruiting poll workers is always a difficult challenge for all elections administrators throughout the country, and getting poll sites for that matter is also a challenge,” said Ryan. “And to have a community leader that is immersed in a neighborhood like (Barclays Center) step up to the plate, work with Borough President Adams to make this a reality today is just a wonderful, wonderful thing, and I don’t think that it can be underestimated or that they would even realize, what a boost for our staff that has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic as essential employees, to see a leader like (Barclays Center) step up to the plate and help us all, all voters in the city of New York, in our time of need, is just fantastic.”