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With just a few official days under Laurie Jacoby’s belt as Barclays Center’s chief entertainment officer after 22 years working for crosstown rival Madison Square Garden, the venue’s new employee has hit the ground running. When asked about her accomplishments she points to “welcoming fans back” to Barclays for recent Nets games in keeping with New York state’s mandate allowing large venues to have fans, up to 10% of their full capacity (17,732 seats for basketball, 19K for concerts at Barclays) in the building.
“Barclays Center worked with many entities, including medical experts, an industrial hygienist, the NBA, and the state’s Department of Health, to ensure that all health and safety protocols were well vetted and thorough,” Jacoby said. She also noted that Barclays received the Global Biorisk Advisory Council Star accreditation.
Jacoby, a three-time Pollstar Executive of the Year award winner, says she’ll call on the relationships she built over her more than two decades at the Garden in programming Barclays. She’ll look to the Brooklyn community, one of the most dynamic and diverse U.S. cities. “Labor Day weekend has the huge West Indian Parade,” Jacoby said, “which shows you the pockets of different communities that are there. Whether it’s a K-pop or Latin or hip-hop or someone from the West Indies, there’s literally huge pockets of people in those communities that live within that market.”
Jacoby tells a story involving a classic rock band and a unique part of the borough. “I used to book Radio City as well and we had Deep Purple play there one year,” she said. “The agent said to me, ‘You need to reach out to the people in Brighton Beach (Brooklyn).’ I’m like, ‘What?’ He goes, ‘There’s a huge Russian Deep Purple fan base.’ I’m like, ‘OK.’ So I found this newspaper, a Russian newspaper that was distributed in Brighton Beach. We put in a small little ad — back when people were buying print ads. I would have never known there was a Russian fan base for Deep Purple.”
— Andy Gensler