Wednesday December 6, 2023

Barclays Center Finances Struggling In Competitive NY Arena Market

  • Brooklyn venue faces fierce competition in crowded New York market
  • Small operating profit not enough to overtake depreciation, amortization costs
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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The highly crowded New York-area arena market continues to deliver a financial crunch to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Facing competition for events and fans, not only from Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden and New Jersey’s Prudential Center but now Long Island’s UBS Arena, Barclays Center reported a $76 million loss for the fiscal year ended June 2023. The audited and newly released figure is on top of a $78 million loss for the prior fiscal year.

The arena posted an operating profit of $16 million in the most recent fiscal year and $14 million the year before, but that was offset by fierce battling for event bookings among the four arenas and ultimately was not enough to overtake 2023 depreciation expenses of $19.9 million and amortization expenses of $51 million.

In addition to the venue competition, the building received no fiscal favors from the primary tenant and building operator, the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. The Nets have been been swept in the first round of the NBA playoffs the past two seasons and have hosted only four total playoff games in that time.

Barclays Center is owned by the state of New York, but the operating rights are held by a company led by Joe Tsai — part of his then-record $3.2 billion purchase of the Nets in 2019. The WNBA’s New York Liberty, who face the defending champion Las Vegas Aces in the Finals starting Sunday, are also owned by Tsai and play at the arena.

The latest financial report — a required filing since public bonds were used to finance the building’s construction — also detailed $99.1 million in total revenue during the fiscal year.

With the ongoing losses, equity in the building has steadily fallen to $138 million from $196 million a year ago and $236 million in June 2021.

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