Report: Isles Considered Leaving Early, Will Stay Put for ’14-15 Season

The Islanders are set to move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn when their lease expires at the end of next season, the 2014-15 season. But, for a time, they bounced around the idea of skipping town a year early according to a report in yesterday’s Newsday.

The Islanders had preliminary discussions in recent months about the team leaving the Uniondale arena at the end of this season, the sources said, but the conversations never advanced and the idea was scrapped.

Deputy County Executive Rob Walker told Newsday that discussions never got to the County level. So, there will be one more go-around at the Old Barn on Hempstead Turnpike.

In April 2013, Point Blank reported that the Islanders were considering the possibility of leaving Nassau a year earlier than their lease required.

Yormark: Minimal Changes to Barclays Setup, Why Coliseum Wouldn’t Work

Kevin Schultz

Apparently it’s Barclays Center Week here at IPB. More info on the arena front from Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, who was on the Michael Kay Show earlier today discussing the Nets, Islanders and Coliseum renovations. 

As far as renovations of the arena in preparation for the Islanders go, Yormark said that the way the arena was for the pre-season game was mostly how it would look when the Islanders move in.

“For the most part, what the fans saw on the 21st is what they’ll see when the Islanders come here,” Yormark told Kay. “We are thinking about adding some premium seating, which I think will be great for that high-end premium buyer but other than that we’re ready to go.”

Yormark also mentioned that they still need to build a “locker room campus” for the Islanders and other “smaller things” that were needed to accommodate the team. But he said there was “nothing big from the standpoint of having to add additional seating or anything like that.” To read more of this story, click here

Source: Barclays Center Takes on Arena Deal Risk, Isles Get Financial Certainty

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Islanders would receive an annual payment from the Barclays Center when the team relocates there for the 2015-16 season and each year thereafter. The Journal reported that this payment was believed to be in the tens of millions of dollars per year.

A Point Blank source has seconded the WSJ’s report that the team would receive a large annual payment from the Barclays Center and has provided further details. To read more of this story, click here

Report: Barclays Center to Pay Isles Millions Per Year to Relocate to Brooklyn

Kevin Schultz

Usually when a sports team takes up residence in an arena, the team pays rent to either the company or municipality that owns the arena. It’s a typical landlord/lessee relationship, just on a much bigger scale than normal. Sometimes, teams even get a sweetheart deal on that rent money, as they leverage how badly the municipality wants to keep the team in the city by making not so veiled threats to move or not award Super Bowl hosting rights to the city (the NFL has used this tactic quite well over the years, especially with the ever-present threat of Los Angeles).

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal has a report on the profitability of the Barclays Center, which is apparently not as profitable as its owners originally thought it would be, saying that it is “tens of millions of dollars” behind income estimates. But hidden at the end of the article is the first bit of information we have about the Islanders “iron-clad” 25-year lease with the Barclays Center, and it’s not the typical lease relationship that was described above (emphasis is mine).

To read more of this story, click here

Photos: Nets Banners Take Up Residence at Coliseum

The newly formed partnership between the Barclays Center/Nets and Islanders showed up at the Coliseum. The Nets two ABA Championship banners, which were won while the team called the Coliseum home in the 1970s, returned. The banners had never hung in the same arena as the Islanders Stanley Cup banners before, as the Nets bolted to New Jersey before the Islanders won their first title in 1980. It looks as though the Nets and Islanders are slowly becoming joined at the hip.

Here’s a great picture via @Number1IslesFan, with the Nets banners on the top left:

nets

And here’s a close-up shot from @JTSchreiner:

To read more of this story, click here

Nassau Coliseum No Longer Covered in Optimum Ads

Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 12.57.00 PMWhen you head out to the Coliseum for tonight’s home opener against the Blue Jackets, it may look a little bare. Gone are the multiple banners advertising Optimum Wifi and Optimum TV, which covered the Coliseum in recent years. Instead, it’s back to only two banners as depicted in the picture at right, tweeted by Islandermania.  There’s one banner for the Coliseum and one for the Islanders.

The Islanders still have banners depicting current players posted vertically in between the pillars on the Coliseum’s exterior.

For comparison, here’s what the Coliseum looked like last season straight from the Optimum Rewards website:

coliseum

In the off-season, Madison Square Garden lost a bid to operate a renovated Nassau Coliseum. Both Optimum and Madison Square Garden are owned by the same parent company, Cablevision, although it is not clear that the loss of the bid and removal of ad banners are related in any way.

The Coliseum had also been fully wired as an “Optimum WiFi hotspot” in previous seasons. Let us know in the comments if that is still the case.

Reminder: Why It Has Been a Pain to Watch the Islanders Preseason Games

Kevin Schultz

If you’ve been looking to get your Islanders Hockey™ fix during the preseason and are unable to fly to Calgary and Nashville or hustle to Newark after work, it’s been a pain in the behind to figure out a way to watch the game. And that won’t change tonight, as the only way you’ll see the Islanders and Predators at the Coliseum is by making the drive to Uniondale.

freephotoNov15Last week against Calgary, the Islanders website picked up the Flames’ online stream of the game that was done on “Flames TV” with full annoucers, graphics, replays and everything. Because it’s Canada and people will riot if they don’t have their hockey. On Sunday, the Nashville Predators declined to stream their game, and with no one on the Islanders side lugging equipment to Music City, no one in TV land or on the internet saw it (until highlights magically emerged days later).

In between, the Islanders played a much ballyhooed preseason game against the Devils at the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It was a game that was talked about for a long time and got more local media coverage from print outlets than any Islanders game in… Years? Decades?

It was available online via the Barclays Center, but you couldn’t watch it on your television.

For a quick refresher, here’s an excerpt from this blog from editor emeritus Chris Botta in 2008 that is still remarkably accurate as the Islanders TV situation has not changed and will not until 2031:

As for why MSG+ isn’t showing any Islanders [preseason] games while MSG Network seems to show Rangers ex games every other night, that’s an easy one and you know why. The Rangers are owned by Cablevision, the makers of MSG Network. A Rangers broadcast is a three-hour infomercial for the hockey team ownership is not going to pass up.

On the other hand, the Islanders’ television broadcast rights are owned by MSG Network. MSG has the right to decide if they want to spend the money to produce Islanders games in Moncton, Uniondale or anywhere. They choose not to.

And with the Barclays Center now a direct competitor to MSG — and doing quite well — it’s no surprise that the network didn’t want anything to do with a game that, frankly, might have had decent ratings (well, decent for the Islanders anyway).

And all this leads us to tonight’s game at the Coliseum that you will only see by actually being there. To read more of this story, click here

IPB Fan Reviews: The Barclays Center Scores Mixed Reactions

Kevin Schultz

At the end of the Islanders/Devils game in Brooklyn on Saturday night, we asked you to rate and respond about your experience at the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The reviews, suffice to say, were a mixed bag. Some fans loved it, some hated it but it seemed like there was a good deal of reviews in the middle. The majority of the reviews came online in this comment thread.

In all, we got 34 responses that were lengthy and passionate. Out of those 34, 28 rated the experience on a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the best rating. The average rating of those 28 respondents came out to exactly 2.996, or 3-out-of-5. Fans are literally divided about the arena (however, they are united in agreement that the urinals have some cool features).

Of those 34 respondents, 18 included the price they paid for the ticket and that came out to an average of $57.80 per seat. The highest price paid was $120 and the lowest were two people who paid $20. One of those who said they paid $20 said they specifically picked the unobstructed side and loved their seats. The other did just about the opposite.

The following are some excepts from the reviews we received, along with that person’s rating of the entire experience. When possible, we’ve hyperlinked to the full review so that you can read the person’s entire comments to give them more context.

A lot of people noticed that the concessions on the upper level of the facility were packed…

“My only complaint was the congestion at the entrance when walking through the concourse trying to get to the food courts on the 2nd level.  There is a narrow entrance plus the food line for the concession as you walk in makes the entrance even smaller.  Otherwise I enjoyed the experience except that the Isles played like crap.”
- Scott D, No Rating

About those urinals…

“The beer selection is good though, and in the bathroom they have a ledge above the [urinals] to rest drinks which is a really smart idea…  Navigating around the lower concourse during intermission was pretty easy which was nice.  However, going around upstairs it was terrible!  … Overall, while it certainly wasn’t perfect, it could’ve been worse.
- Scott C, starstarstar

It could’ve been worse. Not sure that’s the feeling one should have after visiting a brand new arena.

To read more of this story, click here

NYC Lawmakers Going After MSG’s Tax Break

Kevin Schultz

It’s not exactly Islanders related, but around these parts we tend to cover what’s going on with the local arenas quite closely and this is a follow up to one of those stories. Over the summer, as both Forest City Ratner and Madison Square Garden were vying for the rights to develop the Nassau Coliseum, we spotlighted the breaks that both entities receive through various mediums (all legal! even if you don’t like them. It’s corporate America, everyone!).

Here’s a flashback to that article, written August 8th:

A couple of weeks back, Madison Square Garden’s operating permit was given only a 10-year extension, which we mention because MSG gets a cool $15 million tax break — estimated to be $350 million total since 1982 — to continue doing exactly what it’s doing. And what it’s doing is “operating a successful business in midtown Manhattan.”

So, you know how lawmakers voted 49-1 to extend the operating permit 10 years and not in perpetuity? Well, in New York City they’re doubling down on their anti-MSG proposals and attempting to end the tax break that MSG recieves. That break is $15 million a year because they don’t pay property taxes.

We’re honestly not plugged into NYC politics enough to know how serious the attempts to end the lease are but here’s what’s happening, per CBS:
To read more of this story, click here

Ratner: Too Expensive to Keep Isles at Coliseum Post-2015, Renovated Coliseum Ready in 2016

Update, 4:55pm: The Nassau Legislature has unanimously approved the project with a 19-0 vote.

Update, 3:45pm: Ratner and Yormark have said that both the NHL and the Rangers (aka the Dolans) will need to approve the Islanders playing six games at the Coliseum per season after they leave for Brooklyn. Yormark said he was confident in both parties approving the plan but mentioned they have not yet tried to seek approval.

Original Story:The Nassau Legislature is expected to vote later this afternoon on the proposed development of the Nassau Coliseum by Bruce Ratner, Brett Yormark, et al. At the moment, the group is addressing the legislature and have commented on a number of questions that have popped up since the group was awarded the Request for Proposal in August.

One of the more interesting points is that Ratner has said that it is too costly to to keep the Islanders at the Coliseum after 2015, except for the six games that are currently promised under the proposal. He did say that he thinks it is important to have some Islanders games at the Coliseum. And as far as financing the project; “it’s not much if an issue, if we say we’ll do it, we’ll do it,” Ratner said according to Newsday.

Recently Tom Suozzi, who will be running for County Executive on the Democratic ticket has accused Ratner as well as Republican and incumbent County Executive Ed Mangano of planning to put 1,000 video slot machines on the new Coliseum site. Those accusations were shot down by Ratner.

As for the timeline of the project, renovation would begin in August of 2015 after the Islanders head for Brooklyn and the project would be completed sometime in 2016.