The New York Islanders proposal to construct a new 18,000-seat arena (plus a hotel, retail village and 10,000 ft. “innovation center”) on a site adjacent to the Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont, has been accepted with a formal announcement coming later today. After years of trying to get a new stadium built on Long Island, the team left for Brooklyn following the 2014 season; but fans unhappy with the commute and poor ice quality in a venue designed for basketball had the team looking for another home. County officials are urging the team to play in the renovated Nassau Coliseum until the new arena is ready; but the arena seats just 13,900, lacks public transportation and isn’t viewed by the league “as a suitable option for the Islanders.” The team has stated it will play next season’s games at the Barclays Center as contractually obligated.
Howie Long-Short: Sterling Development Partners (real estate firm, run by the Wilpon family) and Oak View Group (arena development company, recently awarded Key Arena renovation project) are the team’s development partners. You can play the project through Madison Square Garden Company (MSG). Azoff MSG entertainment, a joint venture between Irving Azoff’s management firm and MSG, has invested in the OVG. OVG clients include the Prudential Center (Devils), Madison Square Garden, Quicken Loans Arena (Cavs) and The Wells Fargo Center (Flyers, 76ers).
Fan Marino: Had Empire State Development selected the competing NYC FC bid, the Islanders would have relocated. Co-owner John Ledecky acknowledged there was no “Plan B”. The clarity will also help the team in negotiations with star John Tavares, who is eligible to sign an extension come July 1. This was truly best case scenario for Islanders fans.
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