There continues to be talk about the potential for the New York Islanders to leave the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and find a new home in or around New York City, with some speculating a potential move to Queens. However, the Islanders’ former home would reportedly gladly welcome the team back.
According to the New York Post’s Josh Kosman, Nassau County officials “are in talks with the team’s current landlord about a move back to Nassau Coliseum,” the building which the Islanders called home from 1972 until the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
“We decline to comment on ongoing discussions, however, we are supportive of the Islanders return to the [Coliseum],” Nassau County executive Ed Mangano told the New York Post.
There has long been speculation that the Islanders would like to get out of their lease at the Barclays Center as soon as possible, with some reports indicating that can happen as early as 2019. The arena caused a number of problems for the Islanders, including some bad sight-lines for fans, an awkwardly positioned score board and ice conditions that are at times unfavorable. That’s not to mention the Islanders saw a drop in attendance of nearly 2,000 fans per game.
The New York Post reported that Mikhail Prokhorov, who owns the Brooklyn Nets and has a stake in the Barclays Center, would support “the concept of the Islanders moving back east.” Prokhorov is the majority owner of Forest City Realty Trust, which also owns the Coliseum. The building is currently in the midst of large scale renovation which carries a $260-million price tag.
The Coliseum had a capacity of roughly 16,000 for hockey before renovations, but the idea was to reduce that to 13,000. However, if the Islanders are moving back to the building, there’s potential for that to be altered to make for additional seating. According to the New York Post, a decision on whether to keep the Islanders in Brooklyn or move them to Nassau County can wait until fall. At that point, if changes need to be made, there will be time to adjust the plans to accommodate the Islanders’ return.
There’s no word on what a move back to Nassau Coliseum would mean for the Islanders’ current lease agreement. The team and Barclays Center signed a 25-year deal, but the New York Post reports the arena and its ownership would “rather move them to the Coliseum than lose them to a rival arena.”
The only alternative that has been mentioned to this point is a possible arena deal in Queens. Any new home for the Islanders in Queens would likely be placed near Citi Field, the stadium which plays host to the MLB’s New York Mets. Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick reported the Islanders and Sterling Equities, the Mets’ ownership group, have been in discussions about a possible arena deal for “months.”
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