Madison Square Garden, Transformed
MSG undergoes the first phase of its renovation.
The MSG Signature Collection of food, introduced in late September, will offer choices from some of New York City’s most popular chefs and restaurants. Prices have not yet been announced.
Jean-Georges, who will provide food from his various restaurants to the Delta Sky360° Club, has created an organic chicken stand called Simply Chicken. Menu items are a chicken hot dog with kim chee and spicy mustard; sliced chicken salad with carrot-miso dressing; organic asian chicken sandwich.
Sausage Boss, run by Andrew Carmellini, offers an Italian link pizzaiola and sweet peppers; cheese bratwurst weinkraut and mustard. Restaurateur Drew Nieporent will open Daily Burger, which offers a burger with cheese and bacon and onion jam and one with green tomato relish. Lobster Shrimp Roll by Aquagrill’s Jeremy Marshall, Carnegie Deli and Hill Country round out the concession food.
We go from concession food to how the NBA lockout might affect the new Madison Square Garden. The Garden certainly has plenty of other events to keep itself busy, but the Knicks are undoubtedly the hottest ticket there.
This much we know. The NBA’s preseason and first two weeks of the regular season are canceled. That means six Knicks games which were supposed to be played at the Garden won’t happen. At least, we assume they won’t happen since an 82-game regular season appears more and more unlikely with each day the lockout passes.
The three preseason games were scheduled against the Raptors, Wizards and Nets on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, respectively. Those weren’t a big deal. It’s the preseason and those three squads—even with the intra-city rivalry against the Nets—wouldn’t have been hyped match-ups. The regular season games that were axed are a different matter.
The Knicks had three home games eliminated with the first two-weeks stricken from whatever schedule is left when the NBA owners and players finally agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Knicks’ first home game was scheduled for Wednesday, November 2 against the Heat. That’s a season-opening game against the most polarizing NBA team since, perhaps, the Jordan-Pippen-Rodman Bulls.
The second Knicks home game was set for Tuesday, November 8 vs. the Thunder. Tuesday isn’t a big-traffic night but surely the only regular season visit from Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the title-contending squad would’ve been a show. The third home game was against the Pacers on November 12. The Pacers aren’t a showcase team, but they’re a playoff-contender and the game was scheduled for a Saturday night.
So, what does this all mean? Bob Gutkowski, a partner in a New York City sports consulting firm who was formerly the president at Madison Square Garden, told Bloomberg in an August 24 article that the Knicks take in at least $1 million in revenue per game, including preseason. That’s at least $6 million lost right there, although the financial impact runs deeper than that.
“If you have a parking venue, if you have a bar, restaurants around the Garden…you probably are going to miss the Knicks not being there for awhile,” said Robert Boland, a sports business professor at New York University.
However, Boland said the effect will hit businesses harder next year if the lockout continues into the latter part of winter and then spring. The effect at this time of year isn’t felt as much.
“One problem with early-season basketball is because it competes with events on our calender and in our lifestyle, whether that other event is hockey or high school and college football, it doesn’t occupy space alone,” Boland said. “So, the businesses aren’t necessarily out of business during that period of time.”
Boland was quick to point that he doesn’t expect a long-term consequence from the lost revenue—yet. While people who would attend an NBA game are theoretically likely to spend it elsewhere, there’s no telling if they would in this economy. The longer the NBA remains in a work stoppage, the more chances there are for consumers to feel a detachment from the League and a willingness to spend their money on other forms of entertainment.
Images courtesy of Rebecca Taylor/MSG Photos, Angela Cranford/MSG Photos.