Kevin SchultzOn Thursday morning, Islanders owner Charles Wang was a guest at Sports Business Journal’s Sports Facilities and Franchises conference. In an interview with this blog’s founder, Chris Botta, he touched on a multitude of topics regarding the team and their scheduled move to Brooklyn in 2015.
In the interview, Wang said that he would be open to the idea of heading to Brooklyn a year early, in 2014, if Barclays executives and Nassau County work out a deal. He said it “would be nice if we could,” and that it “would make sense.”
The team could capitalize on enhanced revenue streams at the brand new arena and put the long-standing questions and criticisms about their current arena behind them.
When asked by Newsday later in the day, Wang said that currently “we are not in any discussions” to leave early and the team “will work with whatever the county does.”
“We hold athletes accountable. I wish we could trade politicians. I don’t know what we’d get for them,” he said. “They don’t do anything and they get re-elected. I’m telling you, it’s what we’re going to leave our kids.”
Wang spent years trying to develop his vision, the Lighthouse Project, in the area around the Coliseum, but red tape and politicians who thought the plan was too big ultimately did it in. In a last ditch effort, Wang and current Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano put forth a bond proposal to the voters of the County in August 2011, who rejected it.
Wang said yesterday that he had received “bonafide offers” from cities outside of New York for the team, given their tumultuous arena situation. Ultimately, he said, he wanted the team to stay local.
Another topic that Wang touched on was the Islanders iconic blue and orange colors and logo that depicts Long Island, but stops at the county line. Wang said that as long as he owns the team the logo and colors will not be changed. He did note that there could be a revised third jersey for Brooklyn.
“We’re not going to rename the team,” Wang said via Newsday. “The colors are the same. The logo is the same.”