The Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, is replacing Las Vegas as the prime destination for boxing in the United States, according to the venue’s CEO Brett Yormark.
Yormark believes the Center, having opened in 2012, is quickly becoming the “go-to venue in North America” and he now hopes to “further validate” the newfound influence of the 19,000-seater indoor arena in the coming months.
Sky Sports was recently informed of Yormark’s desire to secure the undisputed heavyweight world title fight between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, as negotiations remain ongoing, so we quizzed the CEO about whether the Center really is replacing the alluring avenues of Las Vegas…
So explain the success of the Barclays Center in recent years?
If you look at the fights we’ve staged this year alone, Errol Spence Jr-Lamont Peterson, Wilder-Luis Ortiz, Adrien Broner-Jessie Vargas and the Daniel Jacobs fight, no one is doing fights like we are.
It’s not just fights but the big fights, 50/50 ones that matter most to fans and, for us, it is important to be in a conversation to host one of the biggest fights we’ll see for many years in Joshua-Wilder.
And you believe it is a venue fit for a fight of such magnitude?
Absolutely, it’s an ideal venue. 18,000+ seats, 90+ suites and we believe there will be a lot of premium seating demand. We are on the heels of Wall Street and corporate America will really want to embrace this type of event.
I believe it would be one of the biggest events we’ve had in our history when you think about the global nature and media exposure of the fight. This could be a massive moment for the building, Brooklyn and all the fans here.
You believe you are replacing Las Vegas as the No 1 boxing hot-spot?
I think, in some respects, we already have replaced Vegas. You look at what’s gone on over the last two years, has there been a more active building doing bigger and better fights than ours?
The last big fight in Vegas was in September when ‘Canelo’ Alvarez fought Gennady Golovkin, there hasn’t been a big fight there since. In that time, we’ve had fights in January, March, two fights in April, and more announcements are coming.
Do fighters enjoy fighting at the Barclays Center?
One of the things we do is, from when fighters come into our building from the announcement date to their fight, we build their brands and likeness in the marketplace. We have an incredible PR team and keep them very active, but not enough to compromise their fight preparation.
When fighters want to raise their profile/image, we’re a great partner to help them do that. We have great relationships regionally, nationally, globally and we put all our resources to work behind these fighters and they enjoy it.
And, they keep coming back for more?
We treat fighters in a way that they want to come back. If we look at the fights we’ve had, many of the fighters return because they enjoying fighting at the Center.
Wilder has fought three times at the Barclays Center including his stunning return-fight KO of Bermane Stiverne
We started five-and-a-half years ago with just a dream and have validated that by being one of the busiest buildings in North America, staging some of the most anticipated fights. The fighters feel they are part of something, they see the brand and platform and they want to be a part of it.
Which fighters, in particular, create the best atmosphere?
Deontay Wilder has really created a great atmosphere for himself, while Danny Garcia, Broner, The Charlo brothers (Jermell and Jermall) and Spence Jr have all developed a nice personality in Brooklyn.
Those are the big names who have really commanded a lot of fan interest and they’ve fought here on multiple occasions.
And would you happily welcome UK and Irish fighters to the venue?
We’ve got to know Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn well, when Daniel Jacobs fought here, and we’re establishing a good relationship there. The Center is beginning to feel like a home for everyone.
Eddie and I are chatting about working together more in the future. The Barclays is an open road and we work with everyone. We would certainly like to help him grow his boxing business here in America, if he has the fights and we’ve got the dates then 100 per cent we’re interested.