- Darren Rovell, ESPN.com Sports Business reporter
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The show will go on for the NBA regular-season opener at the new $900 million Barclays Center in Brooklyn. But the question is: Who will be there?
Billed as one of the marquee games of the regular season in terms of ticket demand, the effects of Hurricane Sandy have wiped out the excitement over the Knicks visiting the Nets in Brooklyn on Thursday night.
The change in market demand can best be seen on the ticket-resale market. Just five days ago, the cheapest ticket on the secondary market was $201. By Wednesday morning, a fan could buy a seat for $144, according to TiqIQ, a resale ticket-market search engine. On popular resale ticket site StubHub, a lower-level center-court seat that couldn't be had for less than $800 last week can now be snapped up for $550 as of Wednesday morning. The average ticket purchased for the game on StubHub has plummeted 31.5 percent since last week, going from $371 to $253 per seat.
"We're giving full refunds to fans affected by Sandy who have tickets to events and can't attend," StubHub spokesperson Joellen Ferrer said.
The hurricane, which battered New York and New Jersey on Monday and Tuesday, has caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage, left millions without power and resulted in at least 55 deaths since it reached land in the United States.
To combat the issues that contributed to the Nets’ woeful attendance for years in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., the Barclays Center was built with mass transportation in mind. Subway and Long Island Railroad stops are steps from the new arena, thanks to a new $76 million station built by area developer and former Nets owner Bruce Ratner. But those transportation systems now have been crippled. The Metropolitan Transit Authority, which operates and maintains mass transportation in and out New York, has been unable to assess the actual damage to its equipment because of massive flooding.
On Tuesday, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who says he still hopes to sit in the stands Thursday night, estimated that subways could be derailed for "a good four or five days." And the Barclays Center is not ideal for driving to -- that's if you can even get there. The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which connects Manhattan to Brooklyn, was filled with 86 million gallons of water. It is currently being worked on, but no reopening time has been set.