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New York Islanders: Barclays Center Experience Needs Warmth

By Jennifer Lapka
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If, despite their uncertain relationship, the New York Islanders and Barclays Center want to make an attempt to better customer relations, they have to find some warmth.

There is always going to be a level of rose-colored glasses viewing when it comes to the New York Islanders and the “old” Nassau Coliseum. For as long as the team stays in Brooklyn, there’s going to be resistance.

Any relationship takes work. As long as the Islanders call Barclays home, however, there still has to be effort on both sides for some kind of stasis.

As a season ticket holder, I personally have never had a hard time at Barclays Center. Well, save for drunk people spilling beer on me or idiot fans trying to start fights with my sons because they’re wearing Devils sweaters.

New York Islanders

There are several security guards in the front who keep smiling no matter how people treat them. The concessions folks (especially at Juniors & the Jewish deli) are pretty accommodating.

There’s also Barclays staff that walk around with constant scowls on their faces and are downright rude.

Barclays Center Needs Warmth

Nothing is perfect. Barclays claims Disney service, but that’s actually an issue. This is sports, not princesses. Disney standards are a tad bit higher, alcohol probably doesn’t pay the bills, and there’s a warmth there that is missing from Barclays. That warmth means something, even in sports.

I’ve been going to Devils games for many years. I’ve attended almost every Isles/Devils game at Prudential Center for nine years. I usually get beer thrown on me by fans who take offense to my colors. I’ve had my sixteen-year-old son puff out his chest to defend my honor against the inebriated culprits.

I had an intense discussion of sports culture, family environment, and fan experience with a guy in red over the Devils attempts to remove the “you suck” from its goal song. It was a good talk with no answers.

Two nights ago I attended the game in my blue and orange with my son – now a season ticket holder at the Rock. I walked around with him and watched him chatting up what seemed like 80 percent of the building.

I watched the way the ushers interacted with the fans. I watched a couple hand one (massively cool) usher an envelope to thank him for his service this season. He proceeded to tell me about another couple who brought him macaroni and cheese one night.

I watched ushers hugging people in their section as the game ended and people left for the last time this season. There was a concessions lady with a sign on her register wishing people a good offseason.

This isn’t 40 years of relationships. It’s nine, single digits. It’s people who have come together around their team (who haven’t exactly experienced success the last handful of years). Some of these people have only been “Devils members” for a year.

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If the Islanders played out their lease in Brooklyn, it’s doubtful we’d see this sort of thing. Maybe it would exist here or there, but there is little good feeling between both parties to foster that sort of warmth. That’s a failure on both parties and that’s a shame for the affect it has.

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