Friday, February 19, 2016

Post: Islanders owners considering getting out of lease--or just modifying it?

It's the New York Post, and some previous arena-related exclusives have been fuzzy (and Lighthouse Hockey points to some previous major stretches), but the story posted tonight, by Rich Calder and Josh Kosman, is dramatic: Islanders, Barclays eye escape clause to get team out of Brooklyn:
The Islanders’ relationship with Barclays Center has been on such thin ice during the club’s first season in Brooklyn that both sides are secretly exploring ways to cut ties or modify the existing terms of their lease, The Post has learned.
The Islanders were losing roughly $20 million annually playing at the antiquated Nassau Coliseum — their home for 43 years — when owner Charles Wang in 2012 cut a 25-year lease deal with Barclays Center to have the team move there beginning this season. The lease includes a little-known out clause that kicks in after the fourth season that both sides could take advantage of, sources said.
“I don’t think either side ever believed the full lease would be honored,” said a source briefed on the matter. “I just didn’t think we’d be talking about this the first year in.”
Although the Islanders own one of the NHL’s top home records, their fans have been quite sour about the move, complaining about obstructed-view seating, jacked-up ticket prices, the nixing of longtime team traditions and feeling like second-class citizens in a building monopolized by the NBA’s Nets.
If incoming owner Jonathan Ledecky would like to move the team to Queens or back to Long Island, the problem is there's no new arena.

So a lease modification in Brooklyn seems more likely.

The Post offers more granularity on the deal in which the arena takes over the business side of the Islanders in exchange for paying the team "an average lump sum of $53.5 million annually with the arena making its money off ticket and suite sales, sponsorships and other promotions." But that's reportedly not working out for either.

The Post checked with the parties:
The Islanders declined comment, but Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark on Friday denied his arena wants out of the deal early.

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