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December 31, 2011

2011 Was Another Let Down For The Islanders On The Arena Front

With the calender year coming to a close we Islander fans can reflect on another failed arena attempt.  This was Wang's second attempt to secure the Islanders future in Nassau and both meet the same fate.  Unlike the Lighthouse Project, which had massive public support, the referendum was put down by the public.  Two people have to take the blame for that Ed Mangano and Charles Wang.  When they had the press conference to announce the new plan all of the details should of been worked out and presented on the spot.  The fact that both men thought it was a good idea to announce their plan before they had all the facts allowed the opposition to control the debate.  They were able to put fear and misinformation into the public, which ultimately led to the referendum's demise.

Looking forward to 2012 Islander fans have to hope that Wang is willing to make a third attempt to build a new arena in New York and that the third time is a charm.   If Wang does decide he is done and wants to sell the team, the arena issue could me a major red flag to any potential local buyer, unless they plan to move the team to Brooklyn.  I'm sure all interested parties have seen what Wang has gone through this past decade to get a new arena, and have very little doubt things will not be different for them in these economic times.  One thing is sure 2012 should be very telling about where the Islanders will be playing in 2016.  

December 27, 2011

What I think hockey would look like at the Barclays Center

One of the questions Islanders fans have about the Barclays Center is what the layout for hockey will look like.  In this post I will examine several different renderings and explain what I think this means for the arena hockey configuration..

We have all seen reports that the of the Barcalys Center was inspired by the Conseco Fieldhouse.  I even had a post about it in October and in cased you forgot what the Conseco hockey layouts look like here it is again.
This configuration for the Fieldhouse holds 14,400 and its been reported by Barclays officials that their arena will hold 14,500.  Therefore, one has to assume that Brooklyn is going have a very similar layout.

 The pictures below and the 3d seating chart link above probably gives us the best idea how a hockey rink will work at the Barclays Center.  These images show that the seats at one end of the lower level can be pushed in.  This will be needed to allow for the larger hockey playing surface to fit in the venue.

Here are a few images of hockey games at the Conseco Fieldhouse

From these photos I have come to the conclusion that the most likely outcome for hockey at the Barclays Center would be having the lower level of one end of the arena being closed off.  The upper level on that side will be open, but most likely will have blind spots.  Even with these flaws at this present moment it is the best option for the Islanders staying in New York and one has to wonder if Barclays Center made changes once they did their study on hockey this summer.

December 26, 2011

Why Wang Can't pay for a standalone arena himself

For us hockey is a love and we are willing to do anything to quince that passion.  However, we also have to remember that hockey is a business as well and that owners will not do things that will over extend themselves.  Building a standalone arena will over extend Mr. Wang and cause him to lose an additional 200 million dollars on top of the 200 million he lost already.  This article can explain the economic of financing an arena better than I can.

There is a simple calculation in the finance world called Net Present Value (NPV) that can help us understand this. Money does not have universal value; thanks to inflation, a dollar today is worth more than a dollar 10 years from now. NPV looks at the initial money spent and the money expected to come in to judge whether something is a good investment.

Forbes Business of Hockey 2008 was my guide for this calculation, which I did using this online calculator. According to Forbes, the average profitability for an NHL team in 2007-2008 was $4.7 million. According to their team page, the Vancouver Canucks had an operating income of $12.8 million in 2006-2007 playing in a privately-financed arena. I decided to use this number, guessing that a new arena and a better lease would help make the Islanders one of the more profitable teams in the NHL.

4% is the average rate of inflation, so I decided to use that as the discount rate.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, $320 million is the cost of the renovation.

With that little background, here we go:

Discount Rate: 4%
Life of Project: 30 years
Initial Investment: -$320 (in millions, of course)
Income, Years 1-10: $12.80 (using the Vancouver figure)

NPV: -$216.18

In other words, asking Charles Wang to privately finance his hockey arena would result in a net loss of over $200 million. I realize nobody is going to feel sorry for a man as rich as Mr. Wang, but none of us would take that deal.
I have to agree with Nick's closing that Wang and no other possible owner would take that deal even to save a team they love

December 22, 2011

Gateway Is Still Interested In a Partnership With The Shinnecock

"The Shinnecock's Board of Trustees is going to go back and clarify some of the misunderstandings about the agreement with the nation's membership," Tom Shields, owner and president of Lansing-based Marketing Resource Group Inc. and spokesman for Ilitch and Malik, wrote in an email.
"Both sides are open to renegotiating the agreement if needed to respond to some of the member's concerns. We expect that there will be another vote."
Ilitch is sole owner of Detroit's MotorCity Casino and matriarch of the family whose fortune is built from the Little Caesar Enterprises Inc. pizza chain she co-founded in 1959. She paid $600 million to buy the casino from other investors and for renovations.
She and Malik are partners in Gateway Casino Resorts and Gateway Funding Associates LLC, the businesses working with the tribe. They are headquartered in Detroit's Fox Theatre, whose offices are home to Ilitch Holdings Inc. and other Ilitch-owned ventures.
 Seems like neither side have given up hope of building a casino on Long Island.

Shinnecock Still Have hope for Belmont

Randy King, chairman of the tribal trustees, the Shinnecock's official government, said the tribe would continue on its course for larger-scale, class-III gaming.

"The current plan is to discuss alternative locations west of the reservation in more suitable areas," he said of the tribe's plans for casinos at Belmont Park and in Yaphank , among others. "We hope to discuss all of this with the governor's office shortly.";JSESSIONID=4D36B6FE030CEAF4AB07.3203?site=newsday&view=politics_item&feed:a=newsday_1min&feed:c=politics&feed:i=1.3405195&part=0

One has to wonder if Wang could offer a helping hand now that their seems to be a split between the tribe and Gateway (financial backers)

December 21, 2011

Let's Make Our Holiday Wishes

It is nearly Christmas and it is officially Hanukkah, so I decided to make my wish list of the Islanders landing spots (the order that I like our possible options).  I invite you to do the same in the comment section of this post.

1) Belmont: It keeps the team in Nassau County and making the Islanders part of an entertainment center that includes a racetrack and casino would be amazing.
2) Heartland Project: This project can truly be a destination center on Long Island that Wang dreamed about all along.  It has the potential to solve many of the economic and social issues facing the island today, but it has the risk of being a huge failure as well.  If done right this could become Long Island's White Plains where young people can live and work.

3) Queens: Its geographically on Long Island and it would amazing to have the Isles and Mets right next to each other.

4) Brooklyn:  Like Queens it is geographically on Long Island and it keeps the team in New York. At this time it seems like the most likely option and I would happily take it.

5) Nassau Hub: Let me preface this that I would love the team to stay in their current location, but the plan of the bio research labs with an arena thrown in it doesn't make sense at all.

December 18, 2011

Are You There Charles?

Once again Charles Wang has disappeared.   He was front and center for the Lighthouse and referendum pushes, but now that there are no current plans for an arena no one can find him.  He is the one person that truly controls the faith of the New York Islanders.  Wang will decide if this team will stay in New York or leave, which makes his silence even more agonizing.  The last we heard from him was the day after the referendum when he told us that he is still committed to Long Island.  One has to hope that this is true, but the question has to be does he think Long Island still committed to him.  He has watched his hope of a new arena killed twice.  Once by local politicians and the second time by Nassau County residents in an elections.  A number of fans wish that Charles would put more pressure on Nassau by being seen talking to other counties about arenas, or seen taking a tour of the Barclays Center.  However, that is just no Wang's strategy.  So what exactly is his strategy?  All we can do at this point is hope he has one, and that he hasn't given up hope of getting a new arena, and if he has that he will sell the team to local buyers.  If you ask me the time for silence is over, because we need answers now about the arena, and the fan base is ready to push for it.  We showed up for the lighthouse and referendum, and we will show up again to try to save our team.

December 17, 2011

Shinnecock Still Going Foward With Casino

As the elected leaders of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, we understand and accept the vote of our people on Thursday. While some may want to put their own spin on this vote, the elected leadership of the Shinnecock Indian Nation remains committed to the eight-year partnership we have had with Gateway and remains committed to pursuing economic opportunities for our people, including off-reservation gaming on Long Island. We have made tremendous strides in these last eight years and will not turn back now.
We hear clearly that we must do a better job of explaining and clarifying these agreements for our people, while also remaining open to adjustments to address legitimate concerns. We will work with our independent experts to ensure our people get accurate information about the terms, which were carefully negotiated for more than a year. We will not allow false and misleading information, peddled by negative forces, to stop the Shinnecock Indian Nation from getting the economic opportunities we have long been denied.
All we can do and wait and see if Charles Wang and the Shinnecock tribe have any interest in joining forces.

December 16, 2011

It Is Time For Real Talk!

This post is going examine where the Islanders stand on the arena issue.  With 2015 and the end of the Islanders lease with Nassau County nearing progress is needed soon.  At this exact moment there are only three real options for the Islanders.  By real option I mean locations that will have hockey arenas by 2015 and would want a hockey team.

The first two options for the team are scary, because they would mean that the team would leave New York.

1) Quebec: has been able to do something Nassau County hasn't been able to do for two decades.  What is that you ask?  Politically come together to fund a new arena and guess when the construction of that arena will be done, yep 2015.  Don't think for a second that is by accident.  They have their sights on the Islanders.  Quebec fans showed that last season when they invaded Long Island for a game, and they are going to show this again this season when the invade Boston for an Islander Bruin game.

2) Kansas City: is another city with an arena that might want the Islanders.  There are a few reasons why this option isn't as likely as Quebec.  One they don't have a local person (that we know of) interested in buying the team.  In addition, Kansas City is a failed hockey market and the league might he hesitant to try a failed market again after the failure of Atlanta.

 Option number three is less scary that the other ones, because it would keep the Islanders in New York and geographically on Long Island.      

3) Brooklyn:  The Barclays Center which will be done by next year is the Islanders only local option at the time.  While it isn't a perfect situation with the capacity issues, it is a better option than Quebec or Kansas City.  I'll repost how I think Brooklyn can work for the Islanders:
Even with the capacity issues of the Barclays Center it can still become a permanent home for the Isles.  In my mind three things need to be in place for this option to happen:
1) Wang/Islanders need to get a favorable lease. 
With most of the big money already divided up, Wang is going have to find a way to get the majority of the Islander game revenues.  Ratner may be interested in giving him such a deal, since they are about 100 dates short of meeting their projections for the opening year of the Barclays Center.
2) Atlantic Yard Development
In order to offset the capacity issues of the arena Wang is going need to become part of the Atlantic Yard Development.  This project could allow this location profitable for Wang.  Again Ratner will be more than willing to let Wang in on this project in my mind.  For one he needs money to start the project.  Also when he sold the Nets he was willing to give Prokhorov an option for 20% of the development.
3) Is already a done deal
Keep collecting one of the best cable deals in all of sports from MSG.
All of the other local options the Islanders have at this time are pipe dreams


Nassau Hub:
Heartland Project:
Island Park:

December 15, 2011

Belmont Casino Pictures

Thanks to Verifiable Truth

Belmont Plan May Have Hit a Snag?

Earlier today the Shinnecok voted on an agreement with Gateway Casino Resorts who have helped the Shinnecock get federal recognition.

"The nation has spoken, by consensus, as it has for thousands of years, and voted today not to finalize gaming agreements with Gateway Casino Resorts," tribal trustees said in a statement Thursday night after the contentious vote.

Of the 274 votes cast, 153 opposed the pact and 121 voted for it. There are some 1,400 Shinnecock members, most of whom do not live on the reservation and were not eligible to vote.

"Gateway needs to understand that they are not going to control our tribe," said Lance Gumbs, a former tribal trustee who voted against the pact.

It's unclear whether the tribe will attempt to negotiate more favorable terms or if the two groups will go their separate ways. A spokeswoman wasn't immediately available. Beverly Jensen, a tribe spokeswoman, declined any further comment.
I have no clue how this effects the Belmont plan, but one has to assume that this will slow it down.

Additional Reading:;JSESSIONID=1304D10F264D50A3EE5F3A0898D6E1A5?site=newsday&view=search_results_item&feed:a=newsday_1min&feed:c=breakingnews&feed:i=1.3392804&part=0

December 14, 2011

Mangano Answers My Question

I know that you said that if there wasn't enough space at the hub, a new arena for the Islanders could become part of the Belmont plan. My question is why the Islanders part of the plan now and why isn't there a hard push for this project at this time?
 Ed Mangano All options are on the table when it comes to keeping the Islanders here in Nassau County. I am committed to creating jobs at the Hub, in Belmont, and throughout Nassau County. My administration continues to pursue all options to retain the Islanders in Nassau County. Clearly, negotiations in the media have not produced results. The County will announce new plans for the Hub in the coming weeks.

One Hurdle Down For Heartland Project

 One major hurdle for the Heartland Project was eliminated yesterday when Islip Town Board voted to reverse the required state-approved apprenticeship programs on all large-scale construction jobs in town.  Meaning that construction projects are not forced to use union labor, so this will limit the cost of construction.  This was a major sticking point with Heartland Project.  David Wolkoff was quoted in Newsday:
 David Wolkoff, son of developer Gerry Wolkoff, whose Heartland Town Square project has languished while he has sparred with trade unions over deals to work the site, said at the hearing that his company had delayed two 150,000-square-foot projects because of the proposed law.

The Wolkoffs, along with small-business owners, argued the law would increase their labor costs and drive development from town.
It seems like at least one of the possible options for the Islanders is gaining traction with this news and the reward of state money last week.

Additional Reading:;JSESSIONID=BC06B6A297FCB37C9D33.3193?site=newsday&view=politics_item&feed:a=newsday_1min&feed:c=politics&feed:i=1.3387423&part=0

December 13, 2011

Gambling In New York

When Albany heads back to session one of Governor Cuomo's priorities is legalizing gambling in New York.  The reason  why he wants to legalize gambling is for the added revenue it will add to the state's coffers.  How does this effect the Islanders?  The Islanders are being consider to be part of the Belmont Entertainment Center that would involve a casino.  Therefore, one has to question if New York legalizes gambling how will it effect the Shinnecock tribes push for a casino on Long Island.  In mind if gambling is legalize in the state the tribe getting approval from the state should be made easier.  Plus it gives the state more leverage to get a better deal from the tribe.  The question is does the state think Long Island is a good location for a gaming facility?  In my mind the Belmont Entertainment Center Plan would be a great site for a casino in New York, and offer New York and Nassau a  ton of revenue.  The site would have one of the most historic race tracks in the world, a professional hockey team, and a world class casino resort.  This development would offer attractions other casinos in and out of New York just can't.  What other casino is going have a leg of the triple crown and a professional sports team on their site.  If the state is serious about using gambling to turn around its economy, and serious about using smart locations, they need to strongly consider the Belmont Entertainment Plan.   
Additional Reading:

December 12, 2011

Brooklyn Hockey Fans Perfer An AHL Team?

Today when I was just surfing the web I found this interesting article Hockey at the Barclays Center? Islanders … or who?, which argues that Brooklyn would be better off with a Rangers AHL affiliate then the Islanders.  Really??? No matter your feeling on the Islanders or Rangers as a fan if you have a choice of a professional team or minor league team if your running an arena.  The difference in revenue alone is huge and there are only 30 cities privileged enough to have a team.  If you have a chance to gain one of those teams you just don't turn your back on it.  I guess the Islanders and Rangers fans may have a new battle brewing over the Barclays Center.     

December 10, 2011

Heartland Project

For those of you who are unclear of what the Heartland project is here is a description from a Newsday article.

If developer Gerald Wolkoff can pull it off, the 451-acre Heartland Town Square project he first proposed in 2002 will become a mini-city — with 8,999 apartments and three office towers, including one 20 stories tall, plus stores, restaurants and landscaped walkways. Approvals from Islip Town and Suffolk County could come as soon as this summer. If they do, Wolkoff will have succeeded in overcoming a difficult financial and political climate for projects as big as Heartland.
Unlike other major developments on Long Island — from the Lighthouse Project in Hempstead to Riverhead Resorts in Calverton — that have floundered amid political squabbles, community backlash or financing woes, Wolkoff’s vision has gained strong support in a community willing to accept density and traffic. The anticipated payoff: tax dollars and thousands of jobs.
And in an unusual arrangement, Wolkoff has agreed to build in three phases, giving Islip Town the power to pull the plug if the project causes more traffic than projected or fails to leave enough public space. Phase One alone calls for more than 3,500 apartments, half of the retail and about 20 percent of the office space.
“When finished, it would have 40 percent more people per square mile than Queens"

This project would be like building a new city on Long Island and if Wolkoff and Wang are willing to work together the Islanders could be the center piece of the city.

Recommended Reading:;JSESSIONID=EDD9DC004C2D46BC1EF6.3182?site=newsday&view=search_results_item&feed:a=newsday_5min&feed:c=longisland&feed:i=1.2787520&part=0