Barclays Center is making an effort to improve the New York Islanders fan experience. No, really.
To open up the New York Islanders season, Barclays Center began festivities early by bringing live music to the Plaza, offering merchandise, games, and team alumni. This alumni included often missed Bryan Trottier.
Doors have been opening for more pre-game action where food and drink are available and rest rooms are open.
There is a new intro before the game and the music throughout the game is generally better. There are still seat upgrade winners each game. but there are more sponsored activities for the fans.
Honda has been offering two seats with Calvin Klein lounge access to lucky winners of their #keystotheice “contest” during every home game. I can tell you from experience, this is a sweet deal so bring your Honda keys. Dime Bank has had kids on the ice taking a shot at gift cards and charity donations.
These are just a few examples of ways the arena is attempting to become more interactive with the fan and make the experience more enjoyable. I’ve been to every home game but one thus far and staff has been accommodating and friendly – especially down by the YESUV.
The fan experience should be dependent on two things, though: the game on the ice and the fan him/herself. The game on the ice is out of our control and man, it stinks when the team isn’t winning or even offering much entertainment with their performance.
It’s frustrating and definitely begs to question why show up? Seriously, why should I bother paying for my seat and going through what I have to go through to be there (45 minutes on NJ Transit to Penn from Jersey and a 2/3 to Brooklyn thank you very much) when I’m just going to be disappointed or angry?
Here’s the thing. The other night against the Wild I sat behind a group of church kids attending their first hockey game. A whole row of kids who were afraid of heights and chilly from the ice. These kids sat with their Capri Suns and bags of snacks and watched the game with all of the ohs and ahs I remember having before this started to mean too much to me and I began feeling entitled as a fan to something more.
These kid danced to the music and sang along and they wanted on that scoreboard. They reacted to Travis Hamonic’s fight and every goal the Islanders scored. I had more fun watching those kids watch hockey than the actual game, despite the Islanders pulling out a win.
The Barclays Center still has bad ice. It still has obstructed views. It still has some rude staff. The New York Islanders have fans that just aren’t going to show up unless it’s playoffs and whatever, it was like that at the Coliseum, too. It didn’t get the Mausoleum nickname because it was always packed and jumping. Selective memory, y’all.
There are still articles about the quiet and crappy atmosphere, but again. This is going to a constant head banging issue here, because people have to show up and be loud or it won’t matter what Barclays does.
And right now, the team isn’t making anyone bang down the door.