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June 26, 2007

Two years later, flashback to Times Magazine interview with Bruce Ratner

Bruce RatnerAtlantic Yards Report

With the benefit of hindsight, Norman Oder posts a two-year-old NY Times interview with Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner with running commentary.

Bruce Ratner doesn't talk much to the press--and when he does, he's protected--so it's worth another look at excerpts from his 6/26/05 New York Times Magazine interview conducted by Deborah Solomon, headlined Stadium, Anyone?.

Note that then-Public Editor Byron Calame criticized the Times for failing to disclose the parent company's business relationship with Ratner, but the Times never printed a note or a letter about the issue. Also note that the headline refers to a stadium, not an arena. They're not interchangeable.

Q: How do you explain the sudden vogue for stadiums and arenas? So many teams want a new home -- the Mets in Queens, the Yankees in the Bronx, the Jets with their doomed project in Manhattan. And you're building a new arena for the Nets in Brooklyn.

A: It has to do with the economics of sports. The high salaries of athletes drive the whole thing, because it creates a need for revenue. In the case of the Nets, we need an arena that has suites and luxury seating, and where you can put up advertisements all over the place.

Ratner was being reasonably candid here, warning that the issue was maximizing revenue. He also could have said that the price of the team--the tail wagging the much larger Atlantic Yards dog--was a component. And he also could have explained that naming rights to the arena might pay much of its costs.

Click here for more of the wisdom according to Ratner, including this warning, "Like so many things in life, it was just a matter of money."

Posted by lumi at June 26, 2007 8:50 AM