Isles May Tailor Some Marketing Efforts Towards Russian Fans

Since the Nets have moved to Brooklyn, they’ve been a sports marketing success story. One of the newest pushes that the Nets are making is towards Russian and Russian-Americans in the New York area, including launching an entirely Russian language website.

Last week, the New York Times reported that there may be a similar approach with the Islanders:

[Yormark] said they would seek new fans, including ethnic Russians and others who live in New York and may be hockey fans. The Islanders will receive a share of the revenue generated by suites used for hockey games.

Over at NetsDaily, a Nets blog that is on top of all Barclays Center goings on, they note that there have already been some changes in this regard. The team is partially owned by Mikhail Prokhorov, a Russian businessman estimated to be worth $13 billion.

The marketing has already begun on a small scale. BCTV’s Alyonka Larionov, a Moscow native and daughter of a Russian hockey great, has been increasingly involved in the Islander transition to Brooklyn.

Indeed, there are more than one million people in the New York metro area who are either Russians or Russian-Americans. How many of them are hockey –or basketball– fans remains unknown, but the executives who run both teams expect to find out.

A Good, Official Look at the Barclays’ Hockey Setup

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Earlier today, the Barclays Center tweeted out a photo montage (right) of the arena’s hockey setup taking shape. It might be the best photo we’ve seen so far, taken from a side view of the ice surface.

As mentioned on this blog last week, the scoreboard is off-center and looks like it is over one of the bluelines. The photo also sheds a little light on what will happen in the end zone where things get a little tight. It looks as though — unless things change — there will be no seats behind the glass on the lower level on that end (the empty section in the second tier is supposed to be like that, even for basketball games). It also seems like the upper bowl on that side will have an awfully hard time seeing the near net, but I guess we won’t know for sure until September.

The Barclays Center’s Hockey Rink Will Be Unique, Including an Off-Center Scoreboard

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

When the Islanders head to the Barclays center for their first game at the arena on September 21st, a pre-season tilt against the Devils, the public will finally have a look at what a hockey rink retro-fitted inside a basketball arena will look like.

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It’s not going to look like a traditional hockey arena.

The picture to your right came to light in September 2012 showing the rink setup. In it you can sort of see how the scoreboard will be hanging over one end of the ice and not centered as it normally would be.

A source with knowledge of the planning has told Point Blank that as a result of the arena not being specifically designed for hockey this will indeed be the layout and Barclays’ scoreboard will not hang directly over center ice. It will be off-center, hanging over one side of the neutral zone. The Barclays is going to leave this aspect of the setup as-is.

The source added that the Barclays Center is looking at possible ways to fit more seats into the arena, which will hold at least 14,500 for hockey, but that it isn’t possible to make changes to the sightlines or the structure of the building. Currently it would be the smallest arena in the NHL behind Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, which holds 15,004.

One change that will be coming to the building this summer is the construction of the Islanders’ locker room, the source said.

To read more of this story, click here

Brett Yormark Considers Adding Black and White to the Isles’ Color Scheme

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

There have been focus groups supposedly exploring some changes to the Islanders brand, and promises that the Islanders won’t change their logo as long as they’re owned by Charles Wang.

However, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark is still trying to figure out how to incorporate black and white into the Islanders color scheme, which he calls ‘the colors of Brooklyn.’ The Nets wear black and white jerseys that say Brooklyn on the front, and those have been quite a success for the team. Guard Deron Williams had the sixth best selling jersey in the entire NBA this season.

In a long 15-minute interview with Russia Today, Yormark touched on a lot of topics including how he hopes to add black and white into the Islanders color scheme. He did not give specifics as to whether it would be the jerseys, the logo or maybe only a third jersey. Transcribed by NetsDaily:

“It’s something that we’re considering. We’ve engaged in some meaningful research. Focus groups in both Brooklyn and Long Island, to understand the desires of the hard core fan, the fan that’s been with Islanders for many, many years but we also need to understand what the new fan base for the Islanders would like to see in Brooklyn. My job is to make sure we can marry the hard-care fan base and the new fan base and to do appropriate branding that speaks to both. So we haven’t made an decisions yet, but i think it’s fair to say that black and white are the colors of Brooklyn. So the extent to which we can weave those colors into the current color scheme of the Islanders, I think that might make some sense.”

To read more of this story, click here

Barclays Center Experimenting With Bike Valets

Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City has embraced bikes as another transportation alternative probably best seen in the Citibike program that recently launched. At the Barclays Center they’ve taken things a step further, trying out a bike valet service for a recent concert.

The Barclays has a massive bike rack that can hold up to 400 bikes. According to NetsDaily, Barclays paid Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group to be ‘bike valets’ on Wednesday night:

Transportation Alternatives, under the rubric “One Less Car,” provided valet service, locking the bikes and holding on to the helmets, then at concert’s end, returning both to the riders. Like a coat check for bikes. About 100 riders took advantage of the free service Wednesday.

Forest City paid Transportation Alternatives. The program was an experiment and no one’s saying how it might work for bicycling Nets. It’s one thing to bike to a concert in June. It’s a different experience in December or January. Still, the valet service may become permanent at the arena, depending on the outcome of the experiment.

Madison Square Garden Makes Compelling Bid for the Coliseum

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

After the last couple weeks, Islanders fans and other Long Island residents have heard plenty about Bruce Ratner’s almost Lighthouse Project-level vision for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum property (Ratner even compared it to the Eiffel Tower at the public hearing earlier this month, which had to have Lighthouse proponents of the mid-‘00s shaking their heads). There is also the Ratner-Yormark promise of six Islanders games in front of 13,000 fans at the Coliseum starting in 2015, even though it’s uncertain whether that’s a promise they can keep.

For the sake of equal time, Point Blank is providing some insight into the vision of the other major player in the RFP –- the Madison Square Garden Group. Although MSG cannot offer the tease of six annual Islanders games -–  but the Garden, the NHL and seemingly everyone else can block it -– their proposal is not without merits. Take away those Islanders games and there’s as much, or arguably more, to admire about MSG’s plan than the Ratner plan.

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to bring the power and magic of The Madison Square Garden Company’s legendary brands to the Nassau Coliseum and the people of Long Island,” said Hank Ratner, President and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, in a statement provided to Point Blank.

To read more of this story, click here

BROOKLYN 2015 — So Far, the Barclays Center Isn’t a Dangerous Place at All

Kevin Schultz , Islanders Point Blank:

Since the Islanders announced that they would move to Brooklyn back in October, one of the issues that has been heavily debated online has been the issue of getting to and from the arena and whether fans would make the trip from Long Island to the Barclays Center. It’s understandable and unfortunate that due to the move, the team will likely lose some of its eastern Long Island fanbase and driving to the games will pretty much be a thing of the past. Generally, most of the debate hinges on how many people will fill the arena and how far they’ll travel to do it.

Sometimes, in the debates that pop up on twitter, message boards, and even this blog’s comments, things degenerate a bit — as things on the internet are wont to do — and focus on some deep seeded issues like the crime rates in Brooklyn and how dangerous a place the Barclays Center is. That comes partially out of truth; some of the crime rates in Brooklyn are higher than the national average. It also comes out of some inaccurate and paranoid places induced by fear and racism. To read more of this story, click here

7 Questions for the Islanders in 2013

Kevin Schultz , Islanders Point Blank:

With 2012 behind us, it’s time to take a look at what’s ahead for the Islanders in the upcoming year. We’ve got seven burning questions that need to be, or are likely to be, addressed in the coming 12 months. First up though is one question about the NHL:

#7 – Will there be a 2012-13 season? To read more of this story, click here

2012 — The Year the Islanders Finally Found a New Arena

Kevin Schultz , Islanders Point Blank:

barclaysoutsideAround the NHL, 2012 will certainly be remembered for the ridiculous, arrogant lockout that is still currently going on. But for Islander fans, this year should be remembered as the year the team finally put a decades long arena issue to bed. Whether you’re thrilled about the team’s impending move to Barclays or not, sad to leave the Coliseum or not, I think we can all agree that it is good to finally have closure. The team and the fanbase needed to move past the decades of political shenanigans, failed projects, and other issues (asbestos! attempted condemning!) that have plagued all involved over the years. To read more of this story, click here