The New York Islanders and UBS Arena at Belmont Park have signed a 10-year founding sponsorship agreement with Northwell Health to develop an extensive health and safety program for the new $955 million building, set to open in time for the 2021-22 season.
Northwell, New York’s largest healthcare provider and employer, is the team’s official health care sponsor and the title sponsor of its East Meadow practice facility on Long Island. The New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based company employs 74,000 people and generates $8 billion in annual revenue. UBS Arena is at the core of the $1.5 billion mixed-use project the Islanders are developing on land adjacent to the famous horse racetrack in Belmont, N.Y.
Working together, the NHL team and the healthcare company will develop best practices on health, nutrition, physical awareness and sanitation for the new arena that could impact millions of fans living in the area.
“We are proud to align ourselves with New York’s newest premier sports and entertainment venue,” said Michael Dowling, Northwell’s president and chief executive. “New York, and especially Long Island, is home to thousands of our patients as well as our employees. With 25,000 employees living near UBS Arena alone, this partnership allows us to reinforce our commitment to serving the community, and we look forward to developing future health and wellness programming with UBS Arena and the New York Islanders.”
Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Islanders are seeking a safe and healthy experience for patrons in the new arena, which is projected to seat 17,000 for hockey and 19,000 for other events. Although NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently said that there was no way of knowing when the 2020-21 season will begin and how many fans will be able to attend the games, the Islanders are already planning on welcoming in excess of 10,000 season ticket holders to their new arena in the fall of 2021.
Packages were offered to current season ticket holders and those who have placed deposits last week.
“UBS Arena will be ready to welcome fans back to arenas, ensuring an unrivaled, distinctive live entertainment experience that is reflective of our commitment to unmatched service, safety and sanitization,” said Tim Leiweke, chief executive of Oak View Group and leader of the arena project. “Planned top- of-the-line sanitization efforts from medical grade HEPA filtration, to UV light systems, and disinfecting solutions that have proven safe and effective in large-scale public spaces will ensure future guests peace of mind.”
The Islanders said they anticipate playing the 2020-21 season — in whatever form it takes — at Nassau Coliseum, their primary home since they were added to the league in 1972-73.
The pandemic halted the just-concluded NHL season for four months on March 12 and caused the postseason to be played without fans at the games in bubbles created at Edmonton and Toronto arenas. The Islanders went to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in 27 years, where they lost to the eventual Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.