The arena drama that has followed the New York Islanders for what seems like forever may soon be over. At least according to TSN insider Bob McKenzie. And I’m excited.
Since August 2011 the New York Islanders have been tangled in a never ending drama surrounding where they’d call home. And it soon might be over. Praise whatever deity you pledge fieldy to.
Yesterday, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie the New York Islanders might soon be ready to announce that Belmont will be the site of their new home.
Since losing a vote to rebuild the grounds around the Islanders then 40-year-old Nassau Coliseum the team moved to Brooklyn in 2015 to play at a brand new facility; the Barclays Center.
A building not built for hockey and with a number of issues that still plague the arena. Obstructed views weren’t a surprise but according to Charles Wang, it was either Brooklyn or outside of New York City. So it was better than losing the team.
But the Barclays Center just isn’t the right fit for the Islanders.
What this means for the Barclays Center is, like we’ve all known for a while now, that a short-term deal is going to be agreed upon by both parties. Something that will reduce the payout from Barclays, and that gives the Islanders flexibility to move to a hockey first facility in the next few seasons.
New York Islanders
The Other Options
What about Willets Point or going back to the Coliseum? Two options that were brought up as recently as last summer and yesterday, respectively.
In June of 2016, Bloomberg reported that the Islanders were considering a move to Willets Point and team up with the Mets to create this economy of scale for sport in Queens.
But with a redevelopment plan calling for malls and shops and gentrification galore already under consideration for Willets Point – and facing some push back – it was going to be a significant uphill battle to add a 15,000+ capacity NHL grade facility to the plans.
Going back to the Coliseum was nothing more than a pipe dream, or a romantic narrative. Even after the $165 million renovation project was complete at the new Coliseum – now called the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum Presented By New York Community Bank.
The capacity was far less than what it used to be at about 13,000 for ice hockey, and there’s no guaranteed revenue stream like the one the Islanders currently enjoy Barclays.
According to Newsday the Isles will hear a pitch from Barclays Sports & Entertainment – the owners of both the Barclays Center and the Nassau Coliseum – to move the team back.
But with the option to create a hockey first and state of the art NHL centric facility in, reportedly, Belmont it’s a no brainer. Assuming money isn’t a factor.
Building Don’t Come Cheap
Remember that Ledecky and Malkin already spent a reported $420 million to buy the team from Charles Wang. Building a new facility might just run them another half billion to a billion.
The Barclays Center cost $1 billion to build. Both Edmonton and Detroit’s new barns cost upwards of $600 million to build. How they plan on getting that extra money is going to factor heavily on any construction plans.
Private funding would be the easiest way to get this done. But outside of Vegas Owner Bill Foley, privately funding a new sports venue just doesn’t happen.
Bob McKenzie is a trusted source league wide, what he says isn’t guaranteed but his reputation alone makes this news something the believe. And it’s relieving to think that this could all be settled soon.