In a move meant to expedite NBA approval for his purchase of the Nets, a report indicates that Alibaba’s Joseph Tsai is close to purchasing both New York Islanders homes, the Barclays Center and the Nassau Coliseum.
Per the New York Post, Joseph Tsai is looking to buy both the Nassau Coliseum and the Barclays Center from current owner Mikhail Provorov. Upon hearing this news the immediate reaction from New York Islanders fans might be, ‘so what’?
However, with still no shovel in the ground at Belmont, it begs the question; Could this sale impact the political enthusiasm around the Belmont Arena?
Conspiracy theorists unite!
Enter Another Billionaire, And Another Arena
History has taught us that Nassau County is brimming with self-serving politicians. Introducing one of the richest men in the world into this equation is concerning.
Despite a clear focus on becoming an NBA owner, Tsai has the means to engage in multiple projects simultaneously. Nassau County has a significant say in the approval process of who the next owner of the Coliseum is.
Tsai desperately wants the Nets. Is it really a stretch to believe Nassau will try to capitalize on this opportunity? Succinctly, ‘Mr. Tsai we can help you get your Nets…just help make the Coliseum NHL ready. At this point, we can only speculate.
In October owner John Ledecky announced that the Belmont project would break ground in May. By February it was announced that construction would not happen this spring. Earlier this month Ledecky assured us that the project was on schedule. Only two weeks later the team asked fans to sign a petition to keep the momentum going.
Many of us thought the Islanders request to sign a petition created by a die-hard fan was odd. Now with this new announcement, it makes a little more sense.
Practically, two large arenas in such close proximity raise some concerns. The prevailing issue is will the smaller one survive and thrive.
If Tsai and his ten billion dollars can be convinced to make a major Coliseum investment, an entirely new story may be told in the coming months. That story would be a political win; a permanent New York Islander return to a new Coliseum and satisfying the anti-Belmont contingent.
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It has been nearly 10 years since we were all going to meet at the Lighthouse.
Nassau County has a remarkable record of never getting anything done.
For New York Islander fans, for success in free agency, for the organization as a whole, any new twist to our arena saga is not good news.