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Yormark blames Islanders for not embracing Brooklyn; "they were like rent-a-team" (but Barclays was the renter)

Update: Yormark tells Newsday:
“From the get-go, this was a challenging move,” Yormark said Monday. “Embracing the core fan and trying to grow a new fan base at the same time is fundamentally challenging. That being said, I feel had the Islanders truly embraced the move to Brooklyn in every respect, it might have been different.”
That's not copping to equal responsibility, is it?
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Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, faced with a professional failure, decides to blame someone else. As Newsday reported last night:
In an interview with “Sports Xtra” host Tina Cervasio on Fox 5, Yormark was asked about what went wrong with the Islanders’ move to Brooklyn and said, “Unfortunately, it didn’t work. We had great hopes that moving the Islanders to Brooklyn would work. Unfortunately, they were like a rent-a-team. This team never really embraced Brooklyn, unfortunately.
“Their fan base resides in Long Island. They have a great, avid fan base in Long Island. Brooklyn just didn’t gravitate to the team as I had hoped they would. But I think the move next year, where they’re playing 12 games back in Long Island — and after next year we’ll probably play half the schedule, if not more [there] — is a step in the right direction.
“Obviously, they’re looking to build their own venue. Not sure that ever happens, but if it does, I wish them well. ”
Wait a second. Who's renting the team? The arena, actually, since Barclays cut a deal--dubious in retrospect--to take over marketing (and ticket sales, etc.) for the Islanders in exchange for an annual payment. If he really wanted to blame the team (owners & fans), he should've said it was "like rent-an-arena."

As numerous commenters indicated, Yormark and Barclays bear a significant share of the blame, since they did not draw new fans from Brooklyn, and they alienated longtime fans--compounding the logistical difficulties in getting to Brooklyn--with some ham-handed policies. Now he's alienated fans over the next three seasons, when they still must play games at Barclays. Could this be a very risky tactic to get the Islanders to move back to the (downsized, suite-lite) Nassau Coliseum full-time in the interim?

As to whether he's "not sure" the Belmont arena happens, well, that sounds like a self-serving argument to prop up Nassau Coliseum, which is operated by Barclays' parent. That arena is on its way. It may not be a good deal for the public overall--note the pending costs--but there does not seem to be any big roadblock.









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