The relationship between the New York Islanders and the Barclays Center has been frayed ever since the first puck drop. But now it seems that Barclays feel they’d be better off without the Islanders.
A report released today from Bloomberg states that Barclays feels that the New York Islanders wouldn’t be profitable by the 2018-19 season and believes going in another direction would be best.
Just reading the headlines from the various sources would have you believe the Islanders were moving out today or at least in the immediate future. Bloomberg’s title is: “Brooklyn’s Barclays Is Dumping the Islanders” and the New York Times has: “Barclays Center Want Islanders Gone”.
Coincidentally, 2018-19 is also when Barclays can send the Islanders packing thanks to a clause in the 25-year deal that allows either side to cancel on the deal. Should the Islanders cancel the deal they would have to vacate a full year earlier by 2017-18 at the earliest.
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So what does all of this mean?
In the last few days, there have been comments flying around from all sides. First, there came a petition from a New York State Senator to get the Islanders to return to their traditional home in Uniondale. That now seems pretty well timed considering what’s happened.
Then came Gary Bettman’s comments at the All-Star Game. Where he said that Islanders majority owners John Ledecky and Scott Malkin were committed to keeping the team in New York, but that Barclays had fundamental flaws.
And now the report from Bloomberg, that states the Isles wouldn’t make a profit going into their fourth season at Barclays.
Can we just call all of this for what it is? Jockeying for position? Let’s just look at Barclays situation.
Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has been trying to restructure Barclays $480 million worth of debt for some time now. When he took over from Bruce Ratner he inherited this significant debt from the construction of Barclays, and that 25-year $53.5 million deal with the Islanders.
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Prokhorov and Barclays desperately want to get out from that deal, at least at its current cost. The Islanders aren’t an unprofitable product. They just probably can’t push the Barclays profit margins into the black after liquidating $53.5 million from their coffers.
For the Islanders, there are significant concerns with the stadium itself. From the fundamentally flawed ice to God awful sight lines and obstructed views.
Both Barclays and the Islanders have issues with what the other is bringing to the table. So both are airing their grievances for everyone to see. Think of it as a late and very public Festivus.
What does this mean in the short-run? Nothing. At least until both sides get to the negotiating table at the end of the season. That’s what all this is aimed at. Trying to get the best deal. So don’t worry this isn’t over. Just in case you were worried the drama was over.