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February 19, 2012

Update On Wang's Options

With the Islanders lease getting closer to expiration the amount of options Wang has for the Islanders continue to grow.  We already know that the current arena in its current condition is not an option Wang will consider.  Some people still wonder why this is the case.  The answer to this question is simple the Nassau Coliseum is an antiquated arena that does not offer Wang the revenue streams he need to keep the Islanders competitive.  Reports has shown that in his ten plus years of owning the team he has lost close to 250 million dollars.  In t  his post I will list the possible municipalities Wang could move the Islanders to.

Local Options:

 Nassau County: 

Is still Wang's first choice, but time is running out.  Either the county has to be willing to pay for part of the arena or the Town of Hempstead has to increase their zoning for the hub to keep the Islanders.  I don't find either of these things likely to happen, but would love to be proven wrong.  Kate Murray has made it clear that she does not want a large mix use project in her town, and Nassau residents have also made it clear they don't want to spend their money to keep the team.

 Brooklyn:

Of all the local options Brooklyn is probably in the lead to get the Islanders.  Even with the Barclays Center small capacity for hockey it offers Wang amenities and revenue stream the Coliseum can't. Other positives Brooklyn has in its favor is that the arena is already being built, and if Wang still wants a development deal he can jump aboard the Atlantic Yard Development. This may not be the dream situation for Islander fans, but we'll take it if it means keeping our team.


 Suffolk County:



We know that Wang and Suffolk County have been talking since the August 1st let down, but beyond that we have no clue.  There isn't enough information for a plus/minus, but whatever keeps the Isles in NY is fine by me.  The question is how have the recent political changes in Suffolk County effected the negotiations.  In my mind Suffolk County could be the dark horse that comes out of nowhere to land the team.  However, one has to wonder how Suffolk would fund an arena.  My guess is that the county might be more receptive to a Lighthouse type project than Nassau, but still consider Suffolk County a long shot.

OUT OF STATE  


Seattle:

They have plan for a new arena and a person interested in bringing hockey to Seattle. According to SportsNet  Don Levin the owner the AHL Chicago Wolves has expressed interest in owning a NHL team in Seattle.  Seattle is currently working on getting a new arena to bring both the NBA and NHL back to their city.  The city knows that it a huge mistake to let a sports franchise walk and they seem willing and ready to correct that mistake.  In addition, out of all the potential markets Bettman and the NHL seem to be most intrigue by Seattle.


Quebec:


Ever since Winnipeg has come back into the league this has become the trendy and sexy pick for the next city to get a team.  The fact that funding for a new arena has been worked out already doesn't hurt that opinion either.  If you want to hear something really scary they plan to have their new arena built 2015.  When does our lease end again? Oh yeah 2015!  Make no mistake about Quebec is pushing hard for a team and they have their eyes on the Islanders.  They came to Long Island last year and now they are invading Boston this year to see the Islanders again.



 Kansas City:
 

Since the death of the Lighthouse project, Kansas City has been chanted at Islander fans.  We have given KC little thought, since their poor preseason showing a few seasons ago, but KC just doesn't seem to go away.  I guess selling out a preseason game this year has brought life back to this option, but can they really support a team for 41 home games?
The arena situation still hasn't hit its lowest point yet. Sadly I don't see a deal being reached in Nassau, but I still believe the team will stay in New York by moving to the Barclays Center. Either Wang moves the team there himself and gets a sweetheart from the Barclays Center, and if he wants a piece of the Atlantic Yards Development. If he wants to sell I don't see a local buyer buying the team and building the arena right away. I could see someone buying the team moving them to Brooklyn (with a favorable lease). The goal of the owner would be to turn the team into a winner, and try to get the city to build the team a new arena in Queens, or get the Barclays Center renovated and a larger portion of the profits.

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