March 12, 2012
We Need Answers and a Resolution
An another disappointing Islander season is coming to a close the talk is going turn to the teams arena situation. The fan base is tired of waiting and fail attempts of a new arena. We are tired of the fear of losing are beloved franchise always hanging over our heads. We are tired of our Atlantic division rival fans invading our arena and chanting different cities we might relocate to at us. This off season for the sake of the franchise and to be able to develop as an organization we need a resolution. We need to know that the team will not be relocating. We need a stable financial base so money can once be invested into the team to make them competitive again.
With that rant out of the way the problem is it doesn't seem like Nassau, Queens, or Suffolk can provide us with a resolution. Nassau is broke and so is Suffolk. Apparently Suffolk County has a deficit of 533 million dollars and are trying to figure out how to get back in the black for their budget. We already know that the Nassau taxpayers don't want to pay for a new arena, and that the town of Hempstead doesn't want a large enough development that would all an arena to be fully paid for privately. Everything we hear about Queens is that the redevelopment around Citi Field is years away because of legal issues. In my mind there are three options this organization can make this off season.
1) Continue to play at the Nassau Coliseum and hope somehow an arena lands in our laps by 2015. This would also mean to continue to run a bare bones operation and having a roster full of undeveloped kids and NHL has beens. This would mean seeing three more seasons of hockey like the last four we have seen.
Maybe Wang will come to his senses and realize if the team made a run and sold-out the building every night more pressure would be on Nassau, which will make him make a positive off season move. Even with that said if Nassau had pressure on them to keep the team I don't think they can afford it.
2) Buyout the lease and use Brooklyn as a short term option. This would Wang would have to pay the rest of the money he owes Nassau and SMG from the lease. The teams future would still be up in the air and they would be 20 miles further west on Long Island. However, if they ever did this in my mind they would already have a deal with NYC for an arena in Queens, and would be using the Barclays Center as a stop gap until the legal troubles are over in Queens.
3) Make the Barclays Center you permanent home. Spend the off season allowing fans to adjust to the move and have a huge PR campaign explaining to the Islander Faithful why this happen. At the same time offer them discounted packages for tickets and to the game and the Long Island Railroad. Invest in the Atlantic yards Development to offset the the negatives of having a smaller arena and to show Brooklyn you committed to the area. Plus it would show Islander fans that the organization is committed to staying in New York. Spend money this off season on free agents or make a trade, because of your stability, and get people talking about Islanders hockey and the new venue.