The New York Islanders move from Long Island to Brooklyn was never going to be that well received by the Islanders faithful, but with $130 million being spent to renovate the dilapidated Nassau Coliseum, could the Isles move back?
The New York Islanders played at Nassau Coliseum from 1972 to 2015, making the move to Brooklyn in time for the 2015-16 season. Many bemoaned the move from the Islanders traditional Long Island home to a place that was not even represented on the teams crest.
So now that much needed and extensive renovations are at the very least beginning at the Islanders old barn, some fans are longing for a return for the Islanders to their traditional home.
At a quick glance, a return home would certainly be quite poetic. The Islanders leave their traditional home and come back to the area that nurtured and raised them with a hero’s welcome? Sounds like a script made for Holywood.
But then reality starts setting in and the facts about the work being done at the Nassau Coliseum become clearer. Then you realize that the Islanders are going to be in Brooklyn for some time.
Renovating the Coliseum
Work has already begun on a massive structural overhaul of the Nassau Coliseum. In total, the work is going to cost roughly $130 million to get the Coliseum and the surrounding area up to standards.
The plans for the site that the Coliseum sits on calls for a “400,000 square-foot footprint of retail, dining, and entertainment”. The project would truly revitalize and rejuvenate an otherwise massive parking lot.
There are also plans to expand the Long-Island Railroad to service the rejuvenated Coliseum site once the project is complete. Which is another attraction for fans within Long-Island and for traveling fans as well.
Before moving to Brooklyn, getting to an Islanders game was rather difficult if you were coming from the east. Fans would have to take the train and then transfer to a cab for the remaining few miles before getting to the arena.
With those few factors, it’s certainly enticing to think that the Islanders could move back to the Nassau Coliseum, or whatever their going to call it once the work is all done.
Brooklyn is Home Now
But then economics start sinking in. The Islanders have a pretty good deal at the Barclays Center. According to the New York Post the agreement is worth about $50 million annually for the Islanders.
The terms of the deal are that Barclays will give the Islanders a payout every year and in return will keep “all ticket and suite sales, sponsorships, marketing and promotions and their revenue.”
It sounds like a strange deal, but according to the Hockey News article sourced previously, the Islanders gain $30 million net, by staying in Brooklyn over the Coliseum.
But couldn’t they just get a similar deal if they were to move back? Clever question. Even if they did the capacity wouldn’t suit an NHL team. The plan for the new Nassau is to reduce seating capacity from the 18,000 when the Islanders left to 13,000.
The Coliseum would have to match or better the payout the Islanders receive from the Barclays Center to financially justify such a move. Something that wouldn’t make financial sense for the new Nassau.
The return of the Islanders to Long Island looks like a pipe dream for now. And the new operators are actually happy about it: “It [Nassau Coliseum] will be very busy building, and it will be a building that will provide a lot of flexibility because we won’t have an NBA or NHL team.” So we better get used to the Barclays, cause it’s home now.