The New York Islanders could soon be looking for a new home. According to a report from the Bloomberg News, the arena would be more profitable if the Islanders were not there, and additional concert dates were available instead.
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who owns the building and the Nets, has since November been seeking an investor to take a stake in both. As of earlier this month, a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season — a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said.
Report: New York Islanders Could be Getting the Boot from Barclays Center
In 2012, then Islanders owner Charles Wang signed a 25-year lease with the arena, that saw the Islanders begin play during the 2015 season. Wang sold the team to Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin in 2014, but retained majority ownership until 2016.
The arena, owned by Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, was designed to be a basketball only facility. Shoehorning the hockey team in after the fact has caused issues with bad sightlines and bad ice. The Islanders have also been struggling at the gate, away from their traditional Long Island fan base. They have been averaging just over 12,000 tickets sold per game. The Barclays Center has a capacity of 15,700 for hockey.
The team could break the lease and leave following the 2017-18 season. However, the arena also has the option of ending the lease, which would mean the Islanders would be looking for a new home following the 2018-19 season.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was questioned about the future of the team during this week’s all-star weekend. His comments came before the Bloomberg report was published.
“The owners are committed to the franchise, they’re committed to New York and the great fan base that has followed the Islanders,” said Bettman. “There are some issues about playing in Barclay, it may be fundamental as to the ice system and that’s not something that can be fixed in the short term. I think as is prudent Scott Malkin and John Ledecky are reviewing the situation and looking seriously at what their options are.”