After a nice face-lift the Islanders former home, Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum is open for business. Isles aren’t going, though. Sorry.
The $165 million much-needed facelift, both on the outside and inside, for the Islanders previous digs is now complete. It looks great. But it does nothing to change the Islanders minds about moving back.
The money was spent to make the Coliseum a state of the art facility with updated locker rooms, amenities, luxury boxes, and an updated and expanded concourse. It looks great. Not as great as some think it looks, though:
"Ratner, executive chairman of Forest City Ratner Co., called the Coliseum an “iconic” venue that “would rival the Eiffel Tower” in Paris."
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I get it. It’s his project, he’s excited and he’s got to hype it up. But. Just. C’mon man. Too far.
The update is great for the township of Hempstead in attracting concerts and other major events. But getting the Isles back?
The update also culled a number of seats to make way for these improvements. About 2,800 fixed seats were removed. That’s a huge sticking point.
Why The Isles Aren’t Coming Back
Seating is a huge issue. The Islanders couldn’t sell out the Coliseum when the capacity was 16,700. The closest they came in the last 15 years was in the Coliseum’s final year with an average attendance of 94.8%.
At least with the Barclays Center, they have a deal that’s paying them $50 million each year to be tenants. There’s no such option available with the Coliseum.
The Islanders are a business and going back to the Coliseum makes no business sense at the moment. So, for now, it’s Brooklyn. In the future who knows.
But in the future, the Coliseum is going to have to compete with sites like Bellmont or even Willets Point. Both would feature tailor-made options in terms of infrastructure for the Isles. The Coliseum would have the poetic narrative on their side. Something this franchise has already indicated they are willing to overlook with a move to Brooklyn.
The Isles aren’t going back to the Coliseum. Not now, and maybe not ever. The immediate future for the Islanders arena situation is a renegotiated deal with the Barclays Center.