Brooklyn Bound? Islanders 2012 Pre-Season Goes Through Brooklyn
Your move Nassau County.
After numerous years of trials and tribulations in bringing a new arena to Uniondale, the New York Islanders have announced a clear and straight forward message to all involved in the proceedings.
Brooklyn is being considered as a possible option for the New York Islanders.
On October 2, 2012 the Islanders will play a pre-season game against the New Jersey Devils at the state-of-the-art 67,5000-square-foot, Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The game is being billed as the first National Hockey League game ever to take place in Brooklyn. It will also serve at the first sporting event to occur with only a few Jay-Z concerts preceding the game.
The center’s primary use, at least to begin with, will be for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. The team will move from New Jersey for the beginning of the 2012-13 season. The Nets have played their previous three seasons in Newark at the Prudential Center. The Center will also hold concerts, college basketball, and various other events.
The Center will seat approximately 18,500 for basketball. Capacity decreases to only 14,500 for hockey. The Nassau Coliseum currently seats 16,234 for hockey and is one of the smallest arenas in the league. The Barclays Center, at 14,500 capacity, would seat 515 less fans than the smallest arena in the league, the MTS Centre in Winnipeg (15,015). The NHL does not have a policy regarding the capacity of the arena but would like additional seating for added revenue. With arenas in Chicago and Montreal surpassing 21,000 fans each night, it would likely be crucial to have additional seating in place, especially in the New York Market.
The New York Islanders will be at the Nassau Coliseum until 2015 when their lease will expire. To say a new arena is needed would be an absolute understatement. GM Garth Snow admitted during a recent XM radio-cast that a major reason that gathering top-tier free agent talent is so difficult is because of the arena issues. For anyone that has enjoyed an Islanders game at the Coliseum, it’s a quaint building with it’s own charm, but comparing to the Prudential Centers of the league is laughable.
I am all for a new beautiful arena fans and players can call home. A place that will be a decided home-ice advantage with crazed fans and a top-flight product on the ice.
The Brooklyn arena has a lot of benefits going for it. The Mass-Transit issue is a huge selling point as the building is right near a train terminal. Prudential Center benefits in the same way as the train station is within walking distance to the arena. Being able to hop on a train and get to the arena is an added plus.
A new arena brings new sponsors and new revenues. Charles Wang has gone on record saying that he loses between 15-20 million per year on the Islanders. He has tried every which way but sideways to get an arena in Nassau. That is his home and he wants to keep the Isles there. If the Barclays Center can guarantee him added revenue and way to make a profit going forward, it would behoove him to make the move as soon as possible.
Islanders fans are some of the most devoted and passionate the league has to offer. A team that continues to be mired is losing season after losing season continues to have great support behind them. The attendance this season, although still near the bottom of the league, has increased over 1600 from last season’s league worst 11,057. Having a franchise player come into his own like John Tavares has, hasn’t hurt matters, but fans continue to give all they can, win or lose. The Brooklyn arena brings a new fan base into the mix. The Long Island base will still be very much in play as it would be a train ride to the arena and within a hour drive on most weekends. It will bring the Islanders/Rangers rivalry even closer as the proximity of the teams will be closer and fans normally versed to having to be Rangers fans because of distances, would have two teams within shouting distance to choose from.
All these things mentioned prior sound great and Charles Wang should just sign the paper tomorrow and move to Brooklyn. It’s not that simple. Wang wants the Islanders to stay on Long Island and will try every avenue in order to get that to happen. He made his money on Long Island and wants to make more with a new arena in Nassau County.
The August vote was poorly timed and executed and was voted down by an alarming ratio. The ‘hockey fan’ likely voted us as they knew about what the costs would be and how it could help the economy is certain respects with new jobs and opportunity. The person on a fixed income collecting Social Security sees additional taxes will incur and without getting to the issue, will vote no.
Nassau County needs a new arena for growth, stability, and the betterment of the county. Unfortunately, politicians run amok and have decided what should be done in their best interests, not in ours. This isn’t a rant about politics as i am not well versed in the topic, but everyone, young and old would benefit from a new live event venue. Islander fans would obviously get their new arena with VIP everything and all the pomp and circumstance. The music lover that goes to a concert or two a year would get the same benefit. The family that sees Muppets-On-Ice on a Wednesday afternoon wouldn’t have to sit in folding chairs in section 103.
A new arena scares me as a fan, however. What would a new arena cost my wife and I as season tickers holders? We both work full time and the only thing we splurge for is Season Tickets for the Islanders. This was our 1st season with the tickets, although we have been to more games the past three seasons then most season ticket holders. It is our release from the stress of our moribund 9-to-5 jobs that pay the rent and put food on the table. My day is better knowing there is a game at night, win or lose. We pay a decent premium for our center ice seats for really limited amenities. We have free parking in the ‘VIP’ lot and we got a nice jacket as a season ticket holder present. Compared to the Prudential Center, a newer arena, that gives you all-you-can-eat food and non-alcoholic drinks and a beautiful lounge to enjoy the game and the atmosphere at, you don’t get a real bang for your buck at the Coliseum. It’s likely because the arena is antiquated and there isn’t room to have these options.
Fast forward to 2015 and either Brooklyn or the new and improved Nassau Coliseum is opening up. Where will I be sitting when the prices are raised 30-50%. Looking at Nets tickets in the Barclays Center, if i were to buy a package, i would likely be sitting in the upper bowl somewhere. A new arena is needed for this team, but will they price out their fans?
As of right now, the game is being touted as just another pre-season hockey game in yet another brand new arena without a hockey tenant. How many more of these ‘test’ games are there going to be until Nassau County wakes up and realizes that this is a real issue that needs to be resolved.
Don’t worry Nassau County, it’s just a pre-season game.... isn’t it?