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

Yes, the Barclays Center's capacity for hockey was originally said to be 14,500

According to the Barclays Center web site, the arena offers 15,795 seats for hockey, though everyone knows a good chunk have obscured views--surely more than the 400 claimed in 2014.

But that wasn't always the plan.

As I reported in June 2012, then arena General Manager John Sparks said there would be 18,200 seats for basketball, and 14,500 for hockey, of which about 1,500 would be obscured. That was before the October 2012 announcement that the Islanders would move to Brooklyn.

That total for basketball was eventually trimmed to 18,000 and 17,732, while the hockey capacity was expanded. The reason's unclear, but that would've allowed the arena to sell more seats, and to appear more "major league."

Proof of 14,500

For a while, though, arena developer (and majority operator) Forest City Enterprises, parent of Forest City Ratner, stuck with 14,500 capacity for hockey.

Consider Forest City's annual report for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2013, which said:
The Nets, a member of the NBA, has a 37 year license agreement to use the arena with approximately 18,000 seats for NBA games. Additionally, the arena is expected to be the future home of the New York Islanders, a member of the National Hockey League ("NHL"), with a 14,500 seating configuration for NHL events.
Forest City's report--nearly an annual report--for the transition period from February 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 maintained the same number, as shown in the screenshot below.

A year later, in the annual report for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2014, the number was 15,800, essentially the same as the current capacity.

As is well known, the Islanders moved to Brooklyn in 2015-16, but it hasn't gone well. Now the team owners are building a new arena at Belmont Park in western Nassau County, and the season has been split with the Nassau Coliseum, albeit skewed to the latter.

For next year, Nassau County Executive has asked that the Isles play all their games at the Coliseum--stay tuned.