In order for the venue to host future New York Islanders‘ games, officials are proposing an amendment to the existing lease for the Nassau Coliseum.
Last month, it was revealed that the Islanders will split their home games in future seasons between the Coliseum and their current home, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. That arrangement would take effect beginning with the 2018-19 NHL season and run until the Islanders move into their new Belmont Park arena, which is expected to open in 2021.
While that announcement was celebrated as a homecoming for the Islanders, who played at the Coliseum from 1972-2015, Coliseum operator Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment says it is contingent on a lease amendment. Specifically, a Nassau Coliseum lease amendment would eliminate a $1 million penalty that would be imposed if the Islanders do not play at least six games annually at the venue through 2027. As proposed by Nassau County executive Laura Curran, an amended lease would eliminate that penalty–provided that the Islanders remain on Long Island through 2027–and waive a stipulation that BS&E has to bring an AHL franchise to the facility. More from Newsday:
But Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which operates both the Coliseum and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where the Islanders play their home games, said the deal depends on the county revising the Coliseum lease.
The 2013 lease with developer Bruce Ratner says if the Islanders “are unable or unwilling” to play four regular season and two preseason games at the Coliseum each year, Brooklyn Sports must pay Nassau $1 million a year for five years. The penalty escalates to $1.1 million in years six to 10.
A contract amendment proposed by County Executive Laura Curran eliminates the penalty, as long as the team remains on Long Island through 2027. The measure also would waive a requirement that Brooklyn Sports bring an American Hockey League team to play at the Coliseum.
“This amendment fulfills a promise Nassau County Executive Curran made, and that is to guarantee that there will be hockey at the Coliseum,” said county spokesman Mike Martino.
Though there has been past discussion about an AHL team occupying the Coliseum on a full-time basis, Islanders owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin indicated in 2016 that the prospect of moving the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to Long Island was unlikely. More recently, Ledecky suggested that the Islanders could pursue upgrades to Webster Bank Arena and keep the Sound Tigers in Bridgeport if the Belmont Park plan moved forward.
Under the plans announced last month, the Islanders would play 60 home games at the Coliseum over the next three seasons. That includes 54 regular-season games, as well as six preseason contests. Nassau Coliseum was home to the Islanders from 1972-2015, and reopened in 2017 after an extensive renovation. Since reopening, it has been under a naming rights agreement that makes it known as NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and now features a seating capacity of 13,900 for hockey.
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