The budding new UBS Arena at Belmont Park is still a steel skeleton on property adjacent to the famous racetrack. It’s the prospective home of the New York Islanders and is on track to open for the first puck drop of the 2021-22 season.
The roof is slated to be completed by the end of this calendar year, which means that fitting out of the lower and upper bowls will begin.
“We’re looking to bring the best parts of Nassau Coliseum with us,” said Mike Cosentino, the club’s senior vice president of sales and services, in an exclusive phone interview Tuesday. “It’s going to have a low ceiling and a loud and intimate atmosphere. It’s going to be the only arena in the tri-state area built specifically for hockey.”
Fans can keep that in mind as the club opens sales Wednesday to current season ticket holders for seats in a building that will hold 17,000 for hockey and 19,000 for concerts and other events.
The club reported last month that 10,000 deposits and season tickets had been sold or reserved, leaving only 20% of inventory remaining.
The value is unquestionable with tickets priced in the lower bowl from $75 to $165 and in the upper bowl from $29 to $62 depending on location, with some seats a little lower upstairs at $82.
Cosentino reported that 76% of the seats in the new arena will be priced at $100 or less. The pricing was devised long before the Islanders made their run in the Stanley Cup playoffs, where they lost the Eastern Conference finals in six games to the eventual Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning.
“Really, when we designed the pricing and the entire packaging, doing right by our customers and providing utmost value was our top priority,” Cosentino said.
Comparatively, the average price for an NHL ticket on the secondary market this past season, before the coronavirus stopped play on March 12, was $135. The average price for a New York Rangers ticket at nearby Madison Square Garden was $233.
As far as season tickets were concerned, the average price among the 31 NHL teams was $3,186.11, the highest of the four major professional sports.
For 41 games in the new Islanders arena, a fan can buy a season ticket for as low as $1,189 ($29 a ticket) in the corners of the upper bowl, or as much as $6,765 ($165 a seat) in the lower bowl. There are limited tickets on the glass priced at $250 each, or a total of $10,250 for the season.
The Islanders are also offering approximately 1,500 club seats at center ice with perks and preferential treatment, plus 56 luxury suites in a building that’s projected to cost $900 million when construction is completed. Cosentino said that about 40% of the club seats had already been sold.
“Those have been going really fast,” he said.
Average ticket price for the Islanders on the secondary market last season was $67 at Nassau Coliseum and $40 at the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn, which was built expressly for basketball and had an abundance of obstructed-view seats for hockey.
Splitting the home games between those two venues, the Islanders drew a last-in-the-NHL attendance of 448,369 for 35 dates, averaging 12,810 per game, 29th in the league ahead of only the Ottawa Senators.
The Islanders will play their final season at the Coliseum when the parameters of the 2020-21 season are determined, Lou Lamoriello, the club’s president of hockey operations, told fans Tuesday.
“We will definitely be playing at the Coliseum next [season], that is a confirmation,” he said.