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What’s new at MSG in 2016-17: Drone balls, dancer balls, balls everywhere!

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Want to watch the Knicks at MSG? Well the Knicks may be watching you too.

Me

We sent contributor Michael Barilli undercover as a basketball-watching person so he could report back on the state of MSG. Spoiler: There will be balls. -Joe

As with the Knicks’ roster, the fan experience at Madison Square Garden undergoes some changes every year. I attended the Knicks’ home opener and highlighted what’s new at MSG for 2016-17 and some staples that you should expect on your next trip back.

What’s new:

Optimism

OK, so maybe not super new — Knicks fans usually start off optimistic before their spirits are crushed. I asked 56 fans at the game how many games the Knicks would win this season and whether they’d make the playoffs. Here are the results:

Here’s the breakout of responses by number of wins:

Vegas has the Knicks over/under for wins at around 40, and 52 out of 56 people picked the over. It’s tough to tell what the Knicks will be this year, but an excited fan base is something that always warms the heart. Whether the optimism is misguided remains to be seen.

New mural outside the arena

Resorts World Casino Drone Camera

There’s now a big white flying drone camera that hovers around before the game. It has a bright red light that will not let you forget it’s watching your every move. Not sure what they do with the footage — it doesn’t go on the big screen (my goal is to never use the word jumbotron.) Are they keeping tabs on Woody Allen? They probably should. I don’t trust that dude.

Knicks “Theme Song”

There’s a long line of Knicks songs that the team has debuted with varying degrees of success. They have a new song this year. It’s a DMC and DJ Premier collaboration and it pales in comparison to classics of yore (like this, or this.) I’ve been looking for the name online and can’t seem to find anything — I’m sure it’ll pop up somewhere soon.

Beers are $0.75 more expensive than last year

Bummer.

Banners(?)

Partially looking for confirmation here, but it looks like all the championship/conference/division banners have been re-done. All the fonts are exactly the same size and I don’t remember that being the case historically.

Are there any font experts/enthusiasts in the house who can answer all my font queries?

“Increased emphasis” on mopping Rangers ice sweat off the court

This fact is brought to you by a random fan that was sitting next to me. He alleges there will be more attention paid to floor mopping this year than in years past. It seems ice hockey condensation has gotten out of hand. Another fun fan fact: the people that do the mopping are required to wear belts.

What’s NOT New:

The Knicks finding ways to bother their fans

It started with an immediate slap in the face: NO FREE GIVEAWAY ON OPENING NIGHT. I’ve been to many a home opener and the question is always what, not if, with respect to free shit. To quote one fan, “Give me a pencil, man. It doesn’t even need an eraser. Just give me something.” I agree. Very weak.

The next faux pas came when Knicks legends were brought onto the court to celebrate the franchise’s 70th season. The problem: they did this at halftime when EVERY SEAT IS ALWAYS EMPTY. Next time, have the ceremony before the game so the Captain & Co. can get the respect they deserve. Also, if you were wondering, Ewing was not in attendance (Charlotte had a game.)

Goofy sound effects after made baskets

Until Saturday night, my favorite post-basket noise was for Nazr Mohammed; they’d play a quick clip from “Black Superman (Muhammad Ali.)” New champion: after a Derrick Rose basket, they played “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Unbelievable. Can’t help but think Derrick had some input.

Crazy ass Tron-inspired game intros

The dancing light-up people were back at it again, this time with huge glowing balls falling from the rafters down to the court.

It’s still The World’s Most Famous Arena

I spoke to fans from the following locations: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Italy, Belgium, Spain, France (x3), Ireland, Germany, New Zealand

It promises to be an interesting year at MSG. Go Knicks.