Despite many concerns about the ability of Barclays Center to financially support NHL hockey, developer Bruce Ratner would love to see the New York Islanders move to Brooklyn after their Nassau Coliseum lease expires.
The issue is one of capacity: the new home of the NBA’s soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets can only hold 14,500 — at the most — for hockey. The design of the arena was never geared for pro hockey (that sort of capacity is geared more toward traveling ice shows and skating exhibitions), and there’s the issue of team/clubhouse space as well. That capacity of 14,500, by the way, would be the lowest in the NHL, smaller than Winnipeg’s 15,015 total capacity at MTS Centre.
Still, Ratner would welcome the team as a tenant, per the NY Post, despite downplaying the possibility for years: he says it’s clear there will never be a new arena on Long Island, so the Islanders might as well start looking for a new home in 2015, when their lease expires.
Whether Brooklyn would be a good destination for the team isn’t clear: one of the dynamics at play for the Islanders (and maybe the financially troubled New Jersey Nets) is that the market may not be able to support three NHL teams and two NBA teams. Yeah, we know the greater New York City market is a huge one and there’s plenty of TV money for the Islanders wherever they play, but at some point other market considerations — like sponsorships and game attendees — must be heeded. Given that there are some other decent markets just begging for an NHL team, like Kansas City and Quebec City, Brooklyn may not be as appealing as Ratner thinks.
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