You may have seen some of the MSG transformation Wednesday night, but the renovations come with accessories, too -- and you haven't even seen the best one yet.
Whatever you do, make sure you arrive early on Sunday for player introductions. The arena will be unveiling the first 3D pregame production during a sporting event in the U.S.
Howard Jacobs, MSG Sports' executive vice president of marketing and sales, saw it done in Europe during a soccer match, and he wanted to bring the concept to the Garden in time for opening day. Working with The Famous Group, which spearheaded the European display, it took three months to complete.
"We said to ourselves, 'How do we elevate that experience for fans, especially on Christmas Day?'" Jacobs said. "Because the anticipation is so high, the city fell in love with the team, we wanted to do something we've never done before. You've heard of the 'hurry-up offense?' Well, once the lockout ended, we had our 'hurry-up marketing plan'" (laughs).
What you will see Sunday is this: The Garden crew will ask everyone to step off the court, and then they'll unravel what looks like a floor mat across the entire area. At first, it will resemble the actual Knicks floor, and then the next thing you know, 3D effects will take over.
Parts of the surface will swivel and then explode into the ground, starting off roughly a 60-second video highlighting the excitement of the team this season. The best part is that you'll be able to capture the full visuals no matter where you're sitting, and you won't even need to wear 3D glasses.
To repeat, don't be late, especially because this will only be a one-time treat this season.
Here are some other Garden goodies to look out for on Christmas Day:
In addition to a new player-specific video introduction on the jumbotron, another one will be shown pumping up the Knicks game against Celtics. This preview theme will continue with every home game, with a customized video highlighting the matchup, as if you're watching a national NBA broadcast on TV.
Just for the season opener, the Knicks will launch the "FanCam" application, like the Rangers did for their first game. During a five-minute span during the action, a continuous 360-degree shot will be taken of everyone in the arena. The photograph will be linked to social media and allows fans to eventually tag themselves and send it to their friends. Prizes will be awarded to those who can find the hidden Knicks logos in the photo. "Fan Cam," which will be accessible only on the Internet, will also include several unique features including the Knicks' opening video, a Landry Fields welcome message, a 360-degree tour of the locker room and Delta Sky360 Club, and Mike D'Antoni's pregame speech speech from the locker room.
Before tip-off, a Knicks player(s) will address the fans.
All fans in attendance will receive a free Knicks T-shirt, courtesy of Chase.
There will be a special dance number by the Knicks City Dancers, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary this season. In addition, Run DMC's Darryl McDaniels will headline the halftime show, performing his song "Christmas in Hollis," along with children from the Garden of Dreams Foundation (McDaniels is a board member).
The Knicks will be holding an opening-day celebration in the mall area outside of the arena from 10 a.m. to noon. Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, John Starks, Cal Ramsey and John Wallace will appear with the Knicks City Dancers, 7th Avenue Squad, Knicks City Kids and Knicks Street Team. Interactive elements will include alumni/KCD autograph tables, photo stations, music, face painting, games, holiday music and more. Attendees will receive Knicks towels, placards and holiday hats.
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