CEO Brett Yormark Reflects On Brooklyn Nets As Lifestyle Brand, Plans To Turn Up Heat For Future Jul 28th 2013, 16:00
Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark (left) is happy with his success in Brooklyn, but is not satisfied. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
The amount of uncertainty concerning the Brooklyn Nets' relocation to the New York borough of Brooklyn was not a well-kept secret. According to Nets CEO Brett Yormark, the level of uneasiness probably exceeded what competing franchises have experienced in historically similar processes. Yet, Yormark has reason to smile a year removed from officially relocating the organization from New Jersey to New York.
"The delay in getting to Brooklyn gave us a lot of time to educate not only consumers but the industry on 'why Brooklyn' and the merits of Brooklyn," Yormark explained to FORBES this week. "It also gave us a chance to develop deep-rooted relationships in all of the areas of sports and entertainment. Relationships carry the day. People gave us a chance and we rewarded them with a venue, a market and a fan-base that has exceeded everyone's expectations."
Just recently, Billboard and Pollstar magazines named the Barclays Center as the top-grossing U.S. venue for concerts and family shows, with the arena ranking No. 2 worldwide in gross ticket sales revenue ($46.9 million). Additionally, during the 2012-13 NBA calendar year, the Brooklyn Nets jumped from No. 31 to No. 4 in merchandise sale revenue.
According to Yormark, through "great content and a great customer experience, one that defines the marketplace," the chief objective is having fans and consumers consistently returning to the Barclays Center, an arena that will host 228 events from September of last year through September 2013.
Specifically with regards to the Brooklyn Nets, Yormark has seen an enhancement of the club through the development of its 'lifestyle brand', which was adopted in large part because of the uncertainty surrounding the team's relocation.
"For us, developing the lifestyle brand gave consumers a multitude of reasons to like us," Yormark added. "They like us because we wore Brooklyn every night. They advocate 'Brand Brooklyn'. They like us because they like black and white; it is a timeless color palate. People like us because of our connectivity to the entertainment world and Jay Z; that was a motivator for some consumers. Other consumers like us because we're the home team and we're a basketball team."
As Yormark stated, "People have voted 'yes' with their wallets." Whether it was Nets games, Brooklyn Boxing, Brooklyn Hoops, or any number of sports and entertainment events, consumers experienced memorable content at the Barclays Center in varying capacities.
The Nets and the Barclays Center have also partnered with the Disney Institute. The Institute trained all team and arena employees, with the goal of ensuring an unparalleled customer experience. In year one of the relationship, it has been no surprise that there has been a common theme recurring throughout consumers' reviews: the organization is praised for its conscious focus on raising the bar regarding fan treatment.
Still, Yormark is not allowing the early success of being in Brooklyn to equate to a sense of complacency for him and the franchise. With his 'happy, but not satisfied' mantra, he is hoping to improve upon the lifestyle brand in the coming years.
"You want to turn up the heat on the fans and give them a reason to go from casual to hardcore," Yormark said. "It takes time to do that, but ultimately that's what you want." A large part of turning up the heat will be to field a competitive Brooklyn Nets team that will be able to go toe-to-toe with the two-time defending NBA Champion Miami Heat. To Yormark's credit, he and his team of executives with the Nets have made plenty of off-season moves in an effort to challenge the back-to-back champions, which bring Brooklyn new faces including Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Darren Heitner is a Partner at Wolfe Law Miami, P.A. in Miami, Florida, Founder of Sports Agent Blog, and Professor of Sport Agency Management at Indiana University. Learn more about him at http://www.darrenheitner.com.
This article included contributions by Mark J. Burns.
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