Islanders, Barclays Center Cutting Ties After 2017 Season

By Nick Hession,
Sports Business Writer

The New York Islanders are relocating for the second time within five years after Barclays Center decided it would cut ties with the NHL team following the 2017-2018 season.
Barclays Center owner Mikhail Prokhorov recently saw a financial projection that showed the Islanders would not bring in as much money as concerts or other events that the arena could hold. This is mainly due to the games’ dismal attendance, which at an average of 12,828 attendees per game is the third worst in the NHL, and far lower than the capacity of the arena, according to Scott Soshnick in an article for Bloomberg.

The same financial report said that the Islanders would not contribute any revenue at all for Barclays Center, which is the primary reason the arena will most likely take action, Dan Martin and Rich Calder said in an article for the New York Post.

Originally, the Islanders signed a long-term deal with Barclays Center where the arena got all of their ticket sales and made their business decisions in exchange for $53.5 million a year, Soshnick wrote. Neither team has opted out of the deal as of yet, but both are looking into it and can do so starting in 2018, Filip Bodny wrote in an article for the New York Times.

With the Islanders’ relocation inevitable, the team is considering several different options as to where they should play within New York. The Islanders’ owners, Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin, both considered moving the team back to Long Island, either in Queens or near Belmont Park, according to Martin and Calder.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reportedly favors Belmont as the Islanders’ new home. The state recently denied access to several retailers who wanted to develop some land in the area, which led many to believe that it could be the site for a new stadium, according to Martin and Calder.

There is also a plot of land not too far from the Mets’ Citi Field that Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said she would like to use as a hockey or soccer stadium, Martin and Calder said.

Prior to their tenure in Barclays Center, the Islanders spent their first 42 years as an NHL team in Long Island’s Nassau Colosseum, where they won four Stanley Cup Championships in a row in the early 1980’s.

This development comes only a few weeks after the Islanders fired their head coach of seven years, Jack Capuano. The Islanders’ season opened with a record of 17-17-8, giving them 42 points and a position at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division prior to firing Capuano. Overall, the Islanders went 227-197-64 with Capuano as head coach, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.

The Islanders’ future is uncertain as of right now. The team has a lot of work to do if they want to find a new home in New York. It is safe to say that the team’s short-lived Barclays Center experiment was not a success.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 7th print edition.

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