Stormy Relationship: NY Islanders Reportedly Want out of Brooklyn

St Louis Blues v New York Islanders

It wasn’t if, but when the New York Islanders realized their crucial mistake of moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Not even one full season in Brooklyn, it has been reported that both the Islanders and the Barclays Center are looking for a way out of the team’s 25 year lease with the building. To say that the move to Brooklyn has been to a disaster is a huge understatement.

The Islanders were enticed by the vixen that was the Barclays Center. A sparkling arena in Brooklyn that would make the decaying Nassau Coliseum a bad memory when older Islander fans would tell younger generations that the team used to play in a dump. Unfortunately, New York fell for the perfect partner before the first date. Had the team and Barclays Center actually really looked into their future relationship, their status wouldn’t currently read: it’s complicated.

It looked good on paper. A sparkling new arena not too far from Nassau Coliseum that had

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The Layout of the Barclay’s Center has created obstructed views, bad sight lines, and the smallest capacity in the NHL 

been established a new new center for entertainment in New York City. Then, the truth comes out. The arena has the worst sight lines in hockey with numerous obstructed views, and the smallest seating capacity in the NHL. The real kicker is that the Barclays Center limits the Islanders because under the agreement the arena collects revenue from ticket sales, advertising, and promotions. That limits the amount of money the team can make in the building and could stunt the franchises growth because of the lack of income.

The Barclays Center has also been hampered by the Islanders becoming a permanent tenant. Since they have to book the Islanders home games, the arena is limited in the concerts that can come to Brooklyn. Given the the primary purpose for the arena’s construction was for concerts and basketball, the Islanders are hurting the prospective revenue that could be made off of concerts.

It’s been a disaster from day one. The way Islander fans were ignored by the monopolized home of the Nets, the small capacity, axing of long standing traditions, horrible sight lines, exorbitantly high ticket prices, and a move

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The new Islanders ownership is now stuck between a rock and a hard place.

that should have been a temporary solution at best, rather then a permanent home. Despite owning one of the best home records in the NHL, the attendance for the Islanders is  28th in the league. While part of that can be partially attributed to the smaller arena, the arena’s location, and ticket prices are what have impacted this standing the most.

So what now? There’s no promising solution for the Islanders on the horizon. While Nassau Coliseum is being renovated, the capacity will be 13,000, well below the the NHL minimum. There could be a renegotiation between both sides to work out a new lease, but this would be more of a patch then a long-term solution.

New owner Jonathan Ledecky has wanted to move the team to Queens in the past, but that would be an expensive proposition considering the Barclays Center cost a Billion dollars to build and the new Islanders arena would directly have to compete with it.

Either way both party’s have a terrible situation with no great exit strategy. In a perfect world the Islanders could build a new arena and leave, but given the current financial standing of the club, and the cost of building an arena in the New York area make that an almost impossible scenario. As long as the Islanders are in Brooklyn, an arena that’s too small and isn’t built for NHL hockey, it’s going to be a trying relationship at the Barclays Center.

We will keep you posted as this story continues to develop.

A Step in the Right Direction? Or the Final Nail in the Coffin? How new Stadium impacts the Hartford Whalers

How does the new 60 Million $ Stadium in Hartford impact the Whalers?

How does the new 60 Million $ Stadium in Hartford impact the Whalers?

On June 4th it was revealed that the city of Hartford was undertaking a huge project in an effort to revitalize the downtown area. The City announced plans to build a 60$ million dollar stadium downtown that will be completed in 2016. The stadium, which will seat 9,000 spectators, will be the future home of the New Britain Rock Cats whose lease in New Britain expires in 2015. While the negotiations between Hartford and the ball club have caused a stir, mainly because New Britain feels betrayed because the team did not alert them of the possibility of a move, the big question that comes from this is who does this impact the NHL’s return to Hartford.

Since 1997 the question that has lingered is will the NHL return to Hartford? With this new stadium there are two school of thoughts. Either this new stadium will help push the city to build a new arena, or the new ballpark will prevent the city from exploring a new hockey arena.

Is Hartford making an effort to make itself more attractive for the NHL?

Is Hartford making an effort to make itself more attractive for the NHL?

For some people, they think this ballpark helps the Whalers. If the ballpark helps to revitalize downtown Hartford. If it attracts large crowds and is a financial success, it maybe the spring-board for building a new arena in the Hartford area. On the surface the stadium seems like a good idea, especially for the NHL in the city, but it is a huge mistake.

Who are the New Britain Rock Cats? They are a Double A baseball team. It amazes me that the city of Hartford has made such an effort to acquire a minor league franchise rather than try to lure a professional franchise. Look, I understand that this sounds like a good idea, but it could come back to haunt the city. The Rock Cats currently play 15 minutes aways, was it really worth it the spend 60$ million to move them closer? Instead of building a minor league baseball stadium, especially with baseball’s popularity declining, Hartford should have invested in a new arena. They won’t build a 200$ million dollars arena that could host an NHL franchise, UConn basketball, concerts, and other events ? Let’s face it. UConn basketball is the most popular sports franchise in the state. Why not build an arena for them? This just seems like a short-sighted and almost a conciliation prize type of move by the city. We won’t invest in a new arena but here’s minor league baseball enjoy.

It still is a long road for the NHL to return to Hartford in the future. The hope for Whalers’ fans is that this downtown ballpark will be a step in the right direction. A building block for revitalizing downtown and pushing the city to build a new arena. However, this could be a bad investment that will deter the city from investing in a new arena that an NHL franchise would need. Either way, the city’s decision to build this new ballpark will greatly impact the future of the Whalers in Hartford. Here’s hoping this ballpark will be the first step in bring an NHL franchise back to Connecticut.