Tom Suozzi’s Christmas Eve parting gift of an executed Nassau Coliseum sublease to Charles Wang is paying big dividends for the Islanders. In one extreme case, it led to a purchase of $1 million worth of season tickets by one person, Point Blank has learned.
In one of the former County Executive’s last moves in office in December, Suozzi’s cross-ice pass of Coliseum control to Wang and the Islanders is resulting in boffo box office, even before the hockey team has made a single offseason upgrade to its roster. For now, starring for Islanders ownership are Taylor Swift, Roger Waters, Muse and the top wrestlers of the WWE. Up next, it could be Lady Gaga and the Dave Matthews Band.
Let’s explain. Now that the Islanders receive Coliseum revenue from Suozzi’s sneaky-clever, 11th-hour lease-breaking deal, the hockey team can leverage big-ticket events to its advantage. Over the last two months, the Islanders have pushed a three-year plan in which the buyer gets all home hockey games and the ability to buy the same amount of tickets for each concert at the Coliseum.
“I’m primarily in it for the hockey tickets for my family,” a new season subscriber named Richard S. of Lloyd Harbor told Point Blank on Monday night. “But if there’s one in-demand concert a year that my wife or my kids really want to see, that perk makes an already great deal a phemonenal one. Relative to the rest of major league sports teams in New York, Islanders season tickets are not expensive.”
Another new purchaser, who requested anonymity, said he bought four seats in a 200s section on one of the blue lines because “the hockey plus the concert guarantee made it a virtual bargain.” He will make 24 payments over the next three years of his pact with the Islanders.
To be certain, the hockey/concerts package is a huge hit with two audiences: Islanders fans fortunate to not be getting crushed by the economy and – you better believe it – ticket brokers.
Early this offseason, one man purchased over $1 million worth of Islanders season tickets. No doubt the gold was in the opportunity to buy 135 tickets to each of Roger Waters’ two sold-out presentations of “The Wall” in October ($600 gets you a pair at center ice on the internet). To use a more recent example, pairs of 100-level seats to the WWE’s Fatal Four-Way on Sunday are being sold on StubHub for upwards of $500.
The obvious downside is that some paid-for tickets could go unused for Islanders games. (Fans could take advantage by waiting for deals for weeknight games against non-stellar teams on StubHub). But Wang, after a decade of significant losses trying to keep the NHL club afloat during the frustrating search for a first-class, revenue-generating home for his team, must be exalting over the bottom line so early in the summer.
Does this mean the Islanders will be major players in free agency in July 1? No, but it should allow them to be competitive – and go ever-so-slightly above the salary cap floor – by adding important players that fill voids from the B and B+ categories.
The value of the three-season plan will only go up if, as industry sources tell this site, popular tours like the Dave Mathews Band and Lady Gaga confirm dates at the NVMC in the coming year. Since Wang has taken control of the Coliseum, an emphasis has been placed on booking as many big-name acts as possible.
Could you imagine what it would mean to the Islanders’ bottom line if Billy Joel booked a week or two of shows on his home stage? Don’t rule it out; Wang and Joel are casual acquaintances. Wang, who has contributed to the Long Islander’s causes, now runs the seedy, old, 16,000-seat joint on Hempstead Turnpike.
Sing us a song, Piano Man. We’re all in the mood for some competitive hockey.