The New York Islanders can opt of the Barclays Center as soon as 2018, according to recently uncovered lease terms.
It has been no secret that the Islanders are looking to move on from the Barclays Center. Upon the team’s arrival last fall, the Barclays Center will widely panned as an inadequate hockey venue by both fans and players. Furthermore, the Islanders agreement at the Barclays Center is generally considered to be a poor business deal, with the arena receiving funds from basic preseason and regular season revenue sources up to $53.5 million.
Trying to get out from under this arrangement, the Islanders are reportedly exploring the New York area for a new arena. The team has previously been linked to locations near Citi Field and Belmont Park, and Nassau County has discussed luring the team back to a renovated Nassau County Coliseum, though that solution seems unlikely. If the Islanders and/or the Barclays Center continue to have problems with the relationship, either party can opt of the agreement. For the Islanders, opting out of the agreement could trigger a departure after the team’s third or fourth season at the arena. In event that the Barclays Center exercises its opt out, the team would remain at the venue through the 2018-2019 campaign, its fourth season.
The issue, however, is that the option must come after what is classified as “good faith discussions.” Given the timing needed to complete an arena project, this may become a problem for the Islanders. More from Newsday:
One New York sports executive said this requirement could present timing complications for the Islanders if they decide to move. The person said the Islanders can’t agree to an arena deal now and still fulfill the “good-faith discussions” clause.
“It might be difficult for an agreement on a new arena somewhere else would truly be reached before the end of the next hockey season,” [Ohio State University director of sports administration program Robert] Boland said, “especially given all the potential devils hiding in the details of building in Queens or at Belmont.”
A new arena at either location would require financing, design, land and impact assessment before construction could even begin. That creates a scenario in which the window to have an arena ready if the Islanders leave Barclays will be limited. Experts said they could negotiate a short-term extension with Barclays or bide time at a temporary home. Most recently, the Brooklyn Nets spent two seasons at Newark’s Prudential Center while awaiting Barclays Center’s opening. Potential options for a temporary Islanders home in the metropolitan area would be Madison Square Garden, Prudential Center in Newark and possibly the renovated Nassau Coliseum, though any decision would need approval by the National Hockey League.
Renovations at the Nassau Coliseum have reduced the capacity to 13,000, which would be tight for NHL standards, even on a temporary basis. The Islanders will begin their second season at the Barclays Center this fall.