The Brooklyn Nets’ season opener against the New York Knicks won’t take place tonight at the new $1 billion Barclays Center because of mass transit problems in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday the game was postponed at his suggestion, a day after the National Basketball Association said it would be played. A makeup date was not announced. The Nets’ arena now will host its first regular-season NBA game Nov. 3 against the Toronto Raptors.
“I’m sorry about the game,” Bloomberg said in a news conference. “I was personally going to take my daughters and Diana, we were looking forward to it.”
The Nets, who moved to Brooklyn from New Jersey this offseason, had a countdown clock on their website ticking off the seconds until tonight’s scheduled 7:00 p.m. Eastern start time. It was taken down yesterday afternoon.
“It’s a great stadium, it would have been a great game,” Bloomberg told reporters. “But the bottom line is there is not a lot of mass transit. Our police have plenty of other things to do.”
The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
The 900-mile-wide (1,500-kilometer-wide) storm produced life-threatening surges in a region with 60 million residents. Property and economic damage from the storm might reach $50 billion.
“Mayor Bloomberg informed us this afternoon that after further analysis of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy that he felt it was in the best interests of the city of New York, the teams and our fans that we postpone the Knicks-Nets game scheduled for Thursday night,” NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement e-mailed by the league. “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this devastating storm.”
Tickets for the game will be honored for the rescheduled contest, Nets Chief Executive Officer Brett Yormark said in a statement.
“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy,” Yormark said. “We know these are trying times for so many of you and our thoughts are with you.”
The Barclays Center, which seats 18,000 fans for basketball, is next to Brooklyn’s main transportation hub, which includes stops for subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road, neither of which were running because of storm damage.
“I know lots of fans are going to be disappointed, and the players are disappointed,” Bloomberg said. “The players wanted to play this. But I did talk to the NBA and asked them to cancel the game.”
The Knicks will now open their season against the defending-champion Miami Heat tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
-- Editors: Michael Sillup, Rob Gloster