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As Belmont arena principals talk naming rights and new features, a lingering question: how many suites?

There's a little mystery regarding the New York Islanders new arena at Belmont Park, recently announced as UBS Arena: how many suites will it have?

When Newsday 7/22/20 reported on the naming rights deal, Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said more than a third of the suites have been sold at Belmont. But no information about the number of suites exists on the arena web site or the press release, or on the Isles' web site.
On a recent podcast with The Athletic's Arthur Staple,  Ledecky said the arena would have more lower bowl seats than any other, aiming at a crowded atmosphere (and, perhaps, swapping out suites), while Oak View Group Chief Executive Officer Tim Leiweke, the arena operator, built on that.

"But our job is to make that bowl the greatest stage ever, for an artist, and for an athlete," he said. "So we've gone away from trends. You look at places like the [Madison Square] Garden, they have 160-170 suites. we don't. We ultiamtely got rid of a lot of the suites, because we though it was more important and more critical to build a great bowl, with a great atmosphere, for the hockey games and for the musicians."

Well, it's also possible, as I tweeted, that the market for suites far from Wall Street, and in the current economy, is not necessarily strong.

Barclays ups and downs

I wrote in 2017 that the Barclays Center, which could rely on such high rollers, once overoptimistically estimated 170 suites but by then was at "more than 90."

Today, the web site says "over 100," as shown above.

How many at Belmont?

Without Belmont, goodbye Isles, Newsday editorial columnist Randi Marshall wrote 2/21/19:
That’s not just because it has thousands of more seats. Barclays has 10 times more luxury suites than the Coliseum. Then there are the restaurants, club seats and other perks Barclays offers, that the Barn does not.
Also note this fan's 2/21/20 tweet, "Islanders have only 11 suites in NYCB and 3 of them are used by the team. Barclay's has 100 and the Belmont arena is projected to have over 50."

Not sure where he got the number 50, but it has not been memorialized in any official documents.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Dec. 2018) for the Belmont project, in the Socionomics Chapter, refers to competing venues with suites--including 101 for Barclays, 89 (not 160) for Madison Square Garden, and 32 (not 11) for Nassau Coliseum--but does not cite the planned number at Belmont.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (July 2019) contains the same chart in the Socioeconomic Conditions chapter.

A "bullet train"?

On Newsday's Island Ice podcast, Ledecky called UBS "very community focused"--an echo of the praise for Barclays--and referenced a "30-minute bullet train to the arena."

Well, there may be a one-seat ride to Belmont but by no stretch of the imagination will it be a bullet train.

On both podcasts, Ledecky and Leiweke talked up the arena's new fan-friendly features, including grab-and-go concessions, and the number of jobs and "economic activity" projected. They praised UBS, ignoring the (not uncommon) skeletons in the bank's closet.

But they were right to point out that the UBS announcement was a significant commitment in the face of doubts, short-term at least, about the venue business.

Staying at the Coliseum

Ledecky said he was "1000% confident" the Islanders would be back next year at the Coliseum.

Newsday reported 7/29/2020, Oak View CEO says firm has made offer with hope Islanders can play at Coliseum in 2020-21, describing negotiations among the Islanders, Coiliseum owner Nassau County, and future Belmont operator Oak View.

Unmentioned, however, was the debt holder, associated with the U.S. Immigration Fund, which organizes immigrant investors under the EB-5 program. Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim, which announced it would withdraw, has more than $2 million in unpaid rent and utilities, with a deadline, extended through 8/7/20, to resolve the issue.

"The Bank"

Islanders file trademark for UBS Arena nickname, Eye on Isles reported 7/27/20. In words, UBS Arena might be better known as "The Bank," a trademark claimed, along with "From the Barn to the Bank," the former a reference to the Coliseum.

The Bank, huh. 

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