Islanders Round Table: Belmont RFP Success Or Flat Out Drama
The RFP for Belmont Park is going to be a great drama in the ongoing arena drama surrounding the New York Islanders. But in all honesty, the greater drama at foot for the Islanders is the one between both the team and the Barclays Center.
The ability and potential to build a new hockey-first arena at Belmont Park is fantastic. But between today and the next three to four years, it’s going to take to build this new arena the Islanders still need a place to play hockey.
The deal between Barclays and the Islanders holds the Isles immediate future at stake. You’ll remember that both sides are to negotiate new deal “in good faith” before January 2018. If a deal can’t get hammered out they can continue the 25-year deal, or the Isles can be out, without a place to play by the end of the 2018-19 season. (Or by the end of the 2017-18 season if the Isles cancel the deal).
We know that Barclays wants to renegotiate the terms of the deal. They’re currently paying the Islanders to the tune of $50 million a season to play at the Barc. And according to Barclays own number, the Isles won’t be profitable in a few years time thanks to that pay out.
The Isles themselves certainly want to leave, although they’ve been much less vocal about leaving. Public comments made by Isles majority co-owner John Ledecky seem to focus more on improving the fan experience than anything else. Though given them option to have their own barn again, Ledecky won’t hesitate.
Next: Isles Still Lack Stable Arena...Six Years Later
But for now, the Islanders still need the Barclays Center to act as that bridge to their new home (hopefully) at Belmont. And Barclays knows it. So get ready for some Rock-em sock-em negotiations between the two sides over the next four months.