Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + project FAQ (pinned post)

With Nassau Coliseum operator reportedly up for sale, a sign of Prokhorov's diminishing venue ambitions (bonus: how Ratner finessed the oligarch deal in Nassau)

If, as the New York Post's Brian Lewis reported 8/3/19, Nets owner is looking to sell control of Nassau Coliseum, that means Mikhail Prokhorov's BSE Global is continuing to pull back from a once-ambitious plan to be a venues magnate, controlling multiple buildings to serve performers at different stages of their careers.

Such reporting, of course, should be taken with a grain of salt, given that the Post this past March reported that Nets minority owner Joe Tsai was negotiating with Prokhorov to buy both the Coliseum and the Barclays Center operating companies.

From the new article:
Sources told The Post the Russian billionaire is looking to sell off control of NYCB Live, home of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. It’s part of the portfolio of properties held by his ONEXIM Group and run by BSE Global.

Though Barclays Center is largely considered the more attractive venue — and could turn a profit with the arrival of new Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — Prokhorov has “interested parties” looking to buy NYCB Live even without getting the Brooklyn arena along with it.
I'm not sure that would be "good business" for Prokhorov, as Lewis put it. Rather, Prokhorov has done far better with the Nets--selling a 49% share to Tsai, at a $2.3 billion valuation, with Tsai expected to buy the rest--than with the buildings.

Note: despite those previous reports that Tsai might buy the Barclays Center operating company, he hasn't committed to that. (The Coliseum is owned by the county, and the Barclays Center nominally owned by New York State. Prokhorov owns the operating companies.)

The Coliseum gyrations, and an (untold) slick Ratner move

From the article:
A change in ownership would mark the third lease holder of the Coliseum since Nassau County picked Forest City Ratner to refurbish the county-owned building six years ago. Two years ago, ONEXIM bought 85 percent control of the Coliseum. It’s looking like it could change hands again, albeit separated from Barclays Center.
The story is a little more complicated. The winning bid came from Nassau Events Center, which involved, as the face of the bid, Forest City Ratner and Bruce Ratner. But NEC from the start involved Prokhorov’s Onexim and other partners.

NEC's winning bid, in August 2013, promised more rent than that from rival MSG, in part because it (spuriously) promised six Islanders games a year, as noted below. (The Coliseum's current finances were a wash, since maintenance costs offset rent and concession revenues.)

Less than a month after the winning bid, Forest City--in a statement I missed at the time--told investment analysts it expected to be a minority partner in the project. Had Prokhorov already pledged to own most of it?

In October 2015, Forest City announced it had sold 85 percent of the Nassau Events Center, encompassing the Coliseum and a planned retail/entertainment complex, to Prokhorov's Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (BS&E, now BSE Global). 

If a Russian oligarch had been the face of the bid in 2013, it surely would have been disadvantaged.

Another take

Also see Battle of NY Sports' 7/25/19 post, A What if with Belmont Arena, for a lot more backstory:
The County hired developer Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Enterprises to assess development possibilities for the site, and to assist in crafting the RFP that would be issued on the project. Ratner’s firm was allowed to bid on that contract, and they won it (over the proposals of three other viable competitors)!
The RFP called for a down-sizing of the arena to enable more of the 72 acres around the Coliseum to be converted from parking spaces to other development projects. Ratner’s proposal only called for a 10% reduction (versus an average of 23% seating reductions proposed by the other developers).
Because of the higher capacity, Ratner’s pro formas showed higher potential revenue streams in their proposal. But the element that sealed the deal was the guarantee that Forest City would pay the County $1 million per year – for up to 10 years – (even during the estimated two years of the refurbishment when the building was uninhabitable), if the Islanders did not play a minimum of 6 home games in the arena per year. He also guaranteed that Forest City would purchase an AHL franchise and they would make the Coliseum their home.
But that, according to the post, was a bogus promise, because the National Hockey League would not approve the Isles' having a second home. And that penalty has been removed by Nassau officials, in exchange for the not-quite-commensurate short term promise for the Isles to play at the Coliseum as the new Belmont arena is being built.