After two years and countless complaints [AYR: most notably, I'd say, regarding the off-center seating, bad sightlines, and arena ice], Brooklyn’s Barclays Center has concluded it’s no longer worth it to host the New York Islanders.But no one would confirm that, and the news left questions as to where the Islanders would play. (If the arena cancels the deal, the Islanders would leave after the 2018-19 season, which means they'd need a new home by the fall of 2019. If the Islanders cancel, they'd leave in 2018.)
The arena, which is already home to the NBA’s Nets and one of the world’s top-grossing concert venues, would make more money without the National Hockey League team, according to people familiar with the facility’s financials.
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who owns the building and the Nets, has since November been seeking an investor to take a stake in both. As of earlier this month, a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season -- a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said.
Even if they'd like to build an arena at Belmont Racetrack or near CitiField, I highly doubt that a new arena would be financially viable, both in terms of construction costs and operational revenues.
A return to the revamped Nassau Coliseum? That would maintain the local TV contract, but there's not much of a suite market. IslesBlog suggested that the team owners might buy the Coliseum from new majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov add seats to the newly downsized 13,000-seat capacity.
Or they could move to finished, existing arenas in, say, Quebec City or Kansas City.
But until we learn more, I'm treating this is another salvo in an attempt to renegotiate the terms of the Islanders-Barclays deal.
Update: a return to Nassau?
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said he has met with New York Islanders owner Jonathan Ledecky to discuss the team’s possible return to its former home at Nassau Coliseum.But New York Post columnist Larry Brooks wrote, Islanders fans deserve better than this musical chairs from hell, pooh-poohing the idea:
Mangano said he requested the Nov. 17 meeting with Ledecky, who co-owns the team with Scott Malkin, to discuss a path for the team to return to Nassau. Mangano said he also holds regular meetings with Barclays management.
In a statement, Mangano said “there is a path for the Islanders to return to the new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum where the best sight lines in NHL remain, improved attractive facilities for fans and athletes and room to add seats to accommodate the Islanders. While the decision remains with the Islanders we believe Long Island fans will make the Islanders successful in the new Coliseum.”
There has been no cry for ransom by this ownership group that has made it clear from the beginning a return to a remodeled (and subpar by NHL standards as applies to capacity and number of suites) Coliseum is not part of the plan.He doesn't think a new era is viable, and called Barclays "full of promise" but "nothing more than a temporary shantytown for squatters, featuring substandard ice conditions that makes the building unsuitable for permanent hockey occupancy."