Today’s news:

Nets arena to be ‘Barclays Ctr.’

At press time, sources confirmed a New York Post story that London-based Barclays Bank has agreed to pay the NBA’s Nets hundreds of millions of dollars to name the proposed Brooklyn arena Barclays Center. The official announcement is expected at a Brooklyn Museum press conference on January 18, too late for this paper’s edition. At press time, it was not known how much the multi-year deal was worth, but sources confirmed the Post report it would be the most expensive arena deal in the country. Barclays is the largest bank in the world by total assets and has operations in Europe, Asia and Africa. According to the Post story, the arena naming gives Barclays a stronger foothold in its U.S. operations and a possible expansion plan. Sources also confirmed the Nets deal is far greater than the 20-year, $105.3 million deal for Prudential Financial to call the 18,500-seat arena now being built in Newark the Prudential Center. The Brooklyn arena is slated to cost $637 million and is the cornerstone of Nets owner Bruce Ratner’s $4 billion Atlantic Yards project, which also includes 16 skyscrapers.. According to an audit done during the state approval stage of the project, the Nets estimate earning $31.2 million annually through arena sponsorship and naming rights. Plans call for groundbreaking of the arena possibly in the next few weeks and the Nets to move to Brooklyn for the 2009-2010 season. Ratner’s spokespeople refused comment at press time. Meanwhile, the arena naming drew harsh criticism from Daniel Goldstein, spokesperson for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, and the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit charging the deal cannot go through because it involves the illegal use of eminent domain. “Barclays Bank and Bruce Ratner are grossly jumping the gun since this publicly funded arena cannot be built without my home,” said Goldstein. “And currently a federal court has begun reviewing the constitutionality of the taking of my home and the homes of my neighbors. Of course this lawsuit throws into question the value of these highly speculative naming rights,” he added.

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