The relationship between the New York Islanders and their new home, Barlcays Center in Brooklyn, hasn’t exactly been off to the smoothest start. Controversial ticket policies, controversial fan policies, conflicts with arena security … and, of course, some of the worst seats ever sold to watch professional hockey.
Some Islanders fans wish the team could just back up the trucks, leave Brooklyn and head back to Nassau. That won’t happen – a renovated Coliseum won’t have the seating capacity for the NHL – but the New York Post is fueling speculation that the Islanders could leave Barclays for a new arena in Queens.
That’s thanks to a “little-known out clause that kicks in after the fourth season,” according to the Post. “I don’t think either side ever believed the full lease would be honored,” said a source briefed on the matter told the paper. “I just didn’t think we’d be talking about this the first year in.”
Under the lease deal, the Islanders agreed to relinquish control of the business side of operations to get out of the red — a rare setup for any pro sports franchise. Barclays Center agreed to pay the Islanders an average lump sum of $53.5 million annually with the arena making its money off ticket and suite sales, sponsorships and other promotions, sources said.
Well that explains the awkward advertising and inexplicable SUV near the rink. Gotta maximize the investments. More from the Post:
“The Islander deal was forced from the start because the club was hemorrhaging so much money playing on Long Island … and had to bail,” another source said. “Now you’re left with this weird situation where Barclays’ folks pay the Islanders to play there — but aren’t getting the bang for the buck they desired, not to mention all the crap they’re getting from Islander fans who are finding every little fault they can with being in Brooklyn.
“On the Islanders’ end, they might be better off financially than at Nassau Coliseum. But under the current deal, I think they realize they’ll never be able to have the type of revenue coming in to compete with other big-market teams to sign top players.”
First off, this is a pretty transparent attempt by the Islanders to renegotiate its lease. They agreed to a setup where Barclays controls the business side of things and pays the team an average sum of $53.5 million, according to the Post. So if there’s some out-clause to pressure a renegotiation, might as well start banging those drums now to up that number.
But even with the current deal, the Islanders are doing something they never did in Nassau, according to Dan Saraceni of Lighthouse Hockey:
My analysis: the Islanders didn't make a dime in 43 years in Nassau Country. Now they make $50 million a year. Barclays needs dates to fill no matter how much "crap" they take on social media. And we know better than to expect anyone to bend over backwards to build the Islanders an arena anywhere in New York.
All of this is accurate.
Also true: Josh Kosman co-wrote this NY Post story. Josh “Coyotes To Be Sold To Bill Foley And Moved To Vegas” Kosman. Josh “Gary Bettman To Take Over NJ Devils” Kosman. Josh “Denna Laing To Sue NHL Oh Wait No Check That She Isn’t” Kosman. Some stories require a grain of salt. Others require the Bonneville Salt Flats.
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