As a Seattleite living in Brooklyn, I have become a fan of the Brooklyn Nets this year. I have been to Barclays Center a total of 5 times thus far this season and it is, by far, the best arena experience I have ever had. From the food to the customer service to the arena itself, there is very little not to like. Here are some lessons that Chris Hansen can learn from Barclays Center and incorporate into the new Sonics arena.
1) Free wi-fi. Barclays Center teamed up with Cisco to provide free wireless internet in and around the arena. This comes in handy when using...
2) Arena app. Tastytrade created an application for iPhone and Android phones that allows you to check the Nets' schedule, buy tickets, check in to the arena on multiple social networks, get directions, send posts to the scoreboard and even order food. Speaking of...
3) Food. Barclays Center has a good mix of fine dining and traditional arena food. Most of the companies are local, from Nathan's Hot Dogs to Junior's Cheesecake. Diners can get a hamburger and fries or gourmet brisket mac & cheese.
4) Free ATMs. A NYC startup known as, appropriately, Free ATM, Inc. (http://www.thefreeatm.com/) provides Barclays Center patrons with ATMs that don't charge a user fee, instead opting for a short advertisement.
5) Outstanding customer service. All Barclays Center employees are trained by Disney and you are always greeted with a smile and a "welcome to Barclays Center." Plus the team and the arena do a very good job to make sure your experience is the best. Customer surveys, including personal phone calls, help them to learn what works and what needs work.
6) Discount tickets. The Nets offer followers of their Facebook and Twitter accounts the opportunity to score $15 tickets with a special code. This is how someone like me is able to go to 5 games in the first half of the season.
7) Black box lighting. Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden as well as American Airlines Arena and Bankers Life Fieldhouse use this theater style of lighting. It illuminates the court and makes for an overall gorgeous in-arena experience.
Sorry if I sound like an advertisement for the Nets or for Barclays Center but it really is the best arena I've been to. Hopefully the new Sonics Arena can take that distinction in a few years.