Jay-Z confirms that he’ll christen the Barclays Center

The Brooklyn Paper
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Rap mogul Jay-Z will christen the Barclays Center when the under-construction $1-billion home for the “Brooklyn Nets” opens on the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues next year.

The hip hop star, who owns a very small portion of the basketball team, announced on Monday that he will headline the venue’s first several performances during a three-week grand-opening at the Prospect Heights arena in September, 2012.

Jay-Z did not say how many shows he would play, but vowed that the number would be “definitely more than one.”

“Maybe one, maybe two, maybe three,” said the rapper, whose real name is Shawn Carter.

Nets spokesman Barry Baum said the exact dates have not been finalized.

There was never much doubt as to who the opening act would be; arena officials began spreading rumors that the “mystery” guest was Jay-Z months before the announcement was made.

Indeed, the world-famous entertainer has been marketed as the face of the franchise even before his was the main attraction at the arena’s ground-breaking in 2010. Before that, Jay-Z was the highest-profile member of a group of investors that bought a tiny portion of the team with developer Bruce Ratner. His image is now popping up on ads for expensive all-access passes to the Barclays Center.

So he’s the logical choice to play the arena’s first shows.

Still, in choosing Jay-Z — who was raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant and has broad crossover appeal with African-Americans and whites — the Nets seem to be sending several messages at once, including the idea that the Barclays Center will take on Madison Square Garden for talent.

The booking of Jay-Z also suggests that the team intends to market across a broad demographic a building that some are already calling “The Barc.” Indeed, the symbolism would have been different had the team gone with Beatles legend Paul McCartney, say, or the mega rock band U2.

Beyond its cultural implications, the strategy is also a good business move.

With an estimated net worth of more than $450 million, the 41-year-old MC is one of the most successful musicians — in any genre — of all-time.

Jay-Z raked in $63 million in 2010, trailing just five artists, among them his wife Beyonce Knowles, on’s annual list of top-earning musicians.

And the vast majority of his revenue doesn’t come from his puny ownership stake in the Nets, for which he paid less than $5 million in 2004, but from concert tours.

Even at this late date in his career, Jay-Z consistently sells out concerts at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, which has room for roughly 19,500 people.

The Barclays Center has 18,000 seats when configured for basketball.

The arena is the centerpiece of Ratner’s $5-billion Atlantic Yards mega-project, which was once slated to contain 16 residential towers stretching from Flatbush to Vanderbilt avenues — but all but one of the towers are on hold due to a weak economy.

At the press conference unveiling the Nets’ new name, Ratner said he’s betting that the rapper has the best chance of selling out shows in Brooklyn.

“Who else but Jay-Z could open the Barclays Center?” Ratner asked, apparently rhetorically.

Updated 11:48 am, September 28, 2011: Includes much more information.
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Reader Feedback

Janice from there says:
Grand opening? Grand closing.

Make sure to have some lyrics in Mandarin for the financiers.
Sept. 27, 2011, 11:44 am
chubb rock from Illtown says:
Jay Z is played out.
Sept. 27, 2011, 12:37 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Jay-Z is overrated anyway. He was just another pawn that Ratner used to help push it forward. These days, most rap is pretty much the same, and nothing original. Even in his latest song Empire State of Mind, it's really Beyonce that is really doing most of the singing, not him, and the original song was just her. BTW, Jay-Z isn't even living in Brooklyn righ now, and I heard that he now resides in Scarsdale, so maybe I should pay him a visit and tell him that he is wrong. It's such an irony he says how great Brooklyn is despite no longer living there.
Sept. 27, 2011, 9:15 pm
Tony from Gf says:
Janice, hard ass
Sept. 27, 2011, 11:24 pm
Eazy D from Sheepshead Bay says:
Norm can use his book money to get the $15 seats.
Sept. 28, 2011, 12:42 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I know that a Eazy D and a lot of others who gullible to believe this would be a success will be sitting in those cheap seats with t-shirts saying, "I support this plan, and all I got with this lousy t-shirt."
Sept. 28, 2011, 6:55 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I heard on the Daily News that Jay-Z wants to go back to Brooklyn, but claims he can't afford to go back there. That is such an irony comming from his mouth. If he can afford to live in a penthouse in Manhattan and a mansion in Scarsdale, I don't see how he can't afford to live in Brooklyn. Let's not forget that he didn't mind those on lower incomes being priced out to make way for an arena he will forever covet. Just reading that article was a barrel of laughs for me.
Oct. 1, 2011, 5:46 pm
Eazy D from Sheepshead Bay says:
Tal just double dribbled! as always. perhaps Norman Odor will take you to a game.
Oct. 3, 2011, 3:40 pm
Allison from Crown Heights says:
"...has broad crossover appeal with African-Americans and whites..." This sentence is randomly thrown in there, why?
May 25, 2012, 11:08 am

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