As it was reported some months ago, the New York Islanders and the Barclays Center have an opt-out clause in their 25-year long contract. But we’re only just finding out the details of that opt-out clause now.
The New York Islanders and the Barclays Center have one of the most unique if not unusual partnerships in all of the North American major sports leagues. The Isles gave up their control over ticketing, marketing, and the general sale of the team to consumers in order for a guaranteed payout.
This isn’t news to most fans already. The deal was signed back in 2012 when it was announced that the team would be moving from it’s original home of Long Island to Brooklyn. A guaranteed payout was something the Isles weren’t used to, after years of losing money by playing in Long Island.
Speculation has been roaring about the deal ever since news broke that the Isles were shopping for a new arena. When could the Isles leave? When could the Isles be forced out?
At first, the deal was for 25-years, but as the Queens and Belmont stories started coming out we heard rumblings of an opt-out clause in the contract.
What’s in the Opt-Out Clause?
According to Newsday, the two sides can start the negotiation process as early as the end of next season. (It hasn’t started and we’re already talking about the end).
If both sides can’t reach an agreement by January 1st, 2018 then they have until the end of that month to file an opt-out notification. Essentially opting-out of the contract.
Depending on who files an opt-out notification dictates when the Isles leave. Should the team file the notice, then they can stay as long as the end of their fourth season, but leave as early as the third season at Barclays. Should Barclays file, then the team must leave by the end of the fourth season.
Should Barclays file, then the team must leave by the end of the fourth season.
All of this opt-out business is predicated on the notion that both sides bargain a new deal in “good faith”. Meaning, no funny business.
Which really means the Islanders can’t just go out and start building a new arena at say, Citi Field, and still bargain in good faith. It’s just not possible. The team is already going to opt-out regardless of what Barclays offers.
Obviously They Knew…Right?
Obviously, the New York Islanders already knew about the good faith article. They signed the agreement just a few years ago. They didn’t just forget about it during the ownership transfer between Charles Wang and Ledecky and Malkin.
The good faith article doesn’t “kibosh” a move to Queens or Belmont, or anywhere. What it does do is place a timeline on when the team can, or rather, would likely move.
Not anytime soon.
New arenas, much like Rome, aren’t built in five days. They take years to not only build, but plan. None of this planning can feasibly happen before negotiations conclude in January of 2018.
So buckle in, we’ve got at least another three seasons at the Barclays Center. But months of pandering, negotiating, and just he-said-she-said type leaks coming from anywhere.