The New York Islanders are in their first season in Brooklyn, but according to The New York Post, they’re already looking to get out of their lease at the Barclays Center.
It’s safe to say that the Brooklyn experience has been a colossal flop for both the team and the arena.
Getting to and from Barclays Center has been a challenge and the in-game experience hasn’t justified the steep price of tickets.
“The Islander deal was forced from the start because the club was hemorrhaging so much money playing on Long Island … and had to bail,” a source told The Post. “Now you’re left with this weird situation where Barclays’ folks pay the Islanders to play there — but aren’t getting the bang for the buck they desired, not to mention all the crap they’re getting from Islander fans who are finding every little fault they can with being in Brooklyn.
“On the Islanders’ end, they might be better off financially than at Nassau Coliseum. But under the current deal, I think they realize they’ll never be able to have the type of revenue coming in to compete with other big-market teams to sign top players.”
Despite having one of the better home records (19-8-4) in the NHL, the Islanders have been averaging just 13,424 fans per game (28/30 in the NHL).
There’s reasons for both sides to want out of the 25-year lease agreement, and an out-clause after the fourth year may give both parties their wish.
Here’s an excerpt from The Post:
The Islanders were losing roughly $20 million annually playing at the antiquated Nassau Coliseum — their home for 43 years — when owner Charles Wang in 2012 cut a 25-year lease deal with Barclays Center to have the team move there beginning this season. The lease includes a little-known out clause that kicks in after the fourth season that both sides could take advantage of, sources said.
No one believed the Islanders would be in Brooklyn for the next 25 years, but the fact that they want out after just half a season tells you how poor of a decision this was.
“I don’t think either side ever believed the full lease would be honored,” another source told The Post. “I just didn’t think we’d be talking about this the first year in.”
Where would the Islanders go from here?
More from The Post:
Nets and Barclays Center owner Mikhail Prokhorov is overseeing a $260 million renovation of the Nassau Coliseum to make it state of the art by next year. However, the plans include trimming seating at the Islanders’ former home to 13,000 — which would make it too small to host NHL hockey full time.
Willets Point in Queens previously was floated as a possible landing spot for the Islanders. The idea gained little traction before the team opted to move to Brooklyn.
No matter how you spin it, it looks like Islanders ownership will have to spend some serious coin to build a new arena if they want to leave Barclays.