Friday, October 12, 2012

What If The Media Is Caught Flatfooted About The “Barclays” Center? (The Ratner/Prokhorov Arena Named For That LIBOR Scandal Bank)

I am not saying it will happen. . . I am not saying how long we will have to wait to know if it will. . . . But it could happen. . .   And what would happen if it does?

What will happen if, after all the dutifully stenographic PR hype and hoopla promulgated by the media about how great the “Barclays” Center is, the “Barclays” Center fails?  What if, for all that media hoopla instructing the public to have positive emotions and adoring respect for the “Barclays” arena, the public actually rejects the arena and the arena goes under?

What will the press say then?  Will they say: “We saw it coming!”?

That seems almost impossible to conceive given the present hyperbolic celebrations of the arena, but given the media’s bottomless ability to rewrite history, paying attention only to whatever is the temporal fashion of the moment in reporting reality, they might very well do that.

The so-called “Barclays” Center has fans.  And it will no doubt have fans into the future, whatever that future holds.  But it's easy for the “Barclays” Center to have fans, even some local fans, and still be vastly unpopular in the neighborhood and borough it has decimated in spearheading the takeover of so much neighborhood for Forest City Ratner’s mega-monpoly.  Similarly it can have fans and still fail financially.

In the end, it is a question of how many people go to the arena, paying its high prices, ignoring its symbolism, and, similarly, how many performers consent to perform there.

Failure could look like this: Attendance is lower than what is needed to support the arena financially.  Ratner and Prokhorov, the owners, raise prices (on tickets together with all the extra hidden incidentals) to cover costs, driving attendance down further.  It becomes a vicious cycle.  Meanwhile, many performers decide not to perform at the not-so-adored arena, limiting the number of quality shows, curtailing ticket sales still more.  An increasing negative perception of the arena (and those willing to perform there) grows, resulting in more performers shunning the arena that unspeakably promotes the “Barclays” bank.

That’s why there is such a concentration on advertising now, as the arena promoters try to make a first and lasting impression that convinces potential ticket buyers and performers alike the arena is something special and good for the community that people should want to go to.  But if, and especially as, the arena fails, all of that far too desperately ubiquitous advertising we have been subjected to will also have to be cut back, subsiding and falling by the historical wayside in another cycle of decline.

What happens if the arena goes under financially?  Ratner and Prokhorov might lose ownership of the arena, which would teach them a well-deserved lesson.  It could also forestall the rest of the Ratner Atlantic Yards mega-monopoly and lead to better development practices around the city.

And, by the way, I’m staying away from the arena for a good long while.

Oh, and another by the way, you have heard that government tax-exempt bonds recently issued in New York City to support a large new sports venue are failing?:  Those were the municipal bonds ($237+ Million) issued for Yankee Stadium's vast new parking garages despite warnings from, and over the objection of, the community.

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