The New York Islanders may be moving on over to Willets Point, sources say
According to Bloomberg News, the Islanders are in active discussions with the Mets owner Sterling Equities about building a hockey arena next to Citi
The Islanders, purchased by owners Value Retail Plc founder Scott
Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky for $485 million, currently reside at the
Barclays Center in Brooklyn. However, the team’s owners and arena officials are reportedly facing conflicts about hockey-related improvements. If the negotiation does not follow through, Willets Point is the likely candidate that may replace their current home.
In Willets Point, home of the National Tennis Center where the
U.S. Open is being held annually, the Islanders would be closer to their original fan base in Long Island. The team played at
Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale since 1972 before moving to
Brooklyn in 2014. The prospective Queens location would be redeveloped from the existing auto shops and junkyards, adding stores and entertainment attractions on both sections of Citi Field.
The New York Post reported that the Islanders agreed to surrender control of the team’s business operations, based on the Barclays lease. The Brooklyn arena would pay the team an average of $53.5 million a year in exchange.
Islanders fans have voiced complaints during their first season at Barclays Center, displeased with the arena’s obstructed view seats. Players have also deemed the quality of the ice as “sub-par” according to Bloomberg News. Furthermore, Malkin and Ledecky realized that they were generating less money than other league teams who play in larger arenas.
The Islanders, who have talked about this big move for months, are seeking advisement from the Oak View Group, a consulting firm founded by ex-AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff. The firm is a business partner of the Madison Square Garden Company.