By John Torenli
There’s nothing cozier than an LIU-Brooklyn home game.
A thousand or so of our borough’s college hoops fanatics, stuffed into a sparkling new on-campus facility, where the Blackbirds have reeled off 27 consecutive wins, including the last two NEC Championship games.
But as of Wednesday morning, Brooklyn’s only Division I participant in this year’s NCAA Tournament has a brand new “Home Away From Home”, even if it is just a stone’s throw, or a well-hit stickball shot, from its current Downtown location.
Located just three blocks apart on Flatbush Avenue, the Barclays Center and LIU have formed a unique multifaceted partnership, which includes athletics, education, community and brand-building platforms.
Scheduled to open with a Jay-Z concert on Sept. 28, the arena announced that it will play host to at least four Blackbirds games a year at the future home of the Brooklyn Nets.
LIU will actually play at the state-of-the-art venue, which should seat upwards of 15,000, before the Nets when they compete in the Barclays Center Classic on Nov. 9.
The Blackbirds will also participate in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Classic at Barclays on Dec. 22.
With the focus currently on LIU’s hopes of a stunning first-round upset of top-seeded Michigan State on Friday night in Columbus, the school’s provost, Gale Stevens Haynes, weighed in on the budding relationship.
“We are delighted to partner with Downtown Brooklyn's newest jewel, Barclays Center,” she said in a school-issued statement. “Our collaboration will provide far-reaching opportunities, not only for our students and campus community, but for our neighboring communities as well. I look forward to a long and fruitful association with this dynamic new cultural and sports venue.”
As part of the educational component of the alliance, Barclays Center will annually host five one-hour bi-weekly classes for students in LIU sports journalism/management classes.
The classes will include Barclays Center and Nets Basketball executives serving as guest lecturers. In addition, at least five LIU students will annually receive internships with Barclays Center or Nets Basketball.
Educating more than 11,000 students annually at its Brooklyn campus, LIU will also hold its commencement exercises in Barclays Center.
In conjunction with Barclays Center’s plans to be actively involved in public service throughout the borough, LIU will serve as the presenting partner of the Barclays Center Community Platform.
Through this involvement, LIU will receive branding when the Community Platform is promoted during Barclays Center events via signage or through www.barclayscenter.com, radio, or print.
In addition, LIU students, staff, and faculty will receive discounts on tickets to select Barclays Center events.
“We are proud to align with our neighbor and such a respected and committed institution as LIU-Brooklyn,” said Brett Yormark, Barclays Center CEO.
“LIU offers students from around the world an enriching education in the heart of the most exciting and diverse borough in New York. Barclays Center will join LIU in becoming a dynamic part of the community through education, sports, and entertainment.”