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Tech a Major Part of New Islanders Arena Planning

New Islanders Arena

The New York Islanders are thinking big when it comes to technology features at their upcoming Belmont Park arena, currently scheduled to open in 2021.

Islanders ownership has team up with Sterling Project Development (controlled by New York Mets owners) and arena developer Oak View Group to form New York Arena Partners, which is overseeing the project at Belmont Park. Under the current plans, the 19,000-capacity arena is going to be the anchor of a surrounding development that includes a 250-room hotel, 350,000 square feet of retail space, and more.

In planning the project, Islanders officials–including co-owner Jon Ledecky–want to create a high tech experience at the arena and surrounding development. Among the current ideas being floated include smart jerseys, as well as potential virtual reality features. Time will tell how the venue incorporates its technology features, but the Islanders envision an arena that is designed to reflect a classic look and feel but that at the same time emphasizes modern technology. More from Newsday:

While focused on the arena, Ledecky expects the rest of the campus will use advanced technology, he said. The exterior, however, will be built to blend with the more traditional Belmont Race Track.

“[It will be] a building facade that maintains the [Belmont-style] tradition but inside has everything state of the art,” he said.

The “smart” jerseys, which were unveiled by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver earlier this year, can switch names and numbers on the back while the front doesn’t change. The arena will be built for hockey, and Ledecky said there would be “no bad seats,” though fans in the last rows could potentially use virtual reality or augmented reality for an up-close view of the game.

“Because we’re opening in 2021, we’re spending a lot of time, resources and energy to make sure that we’re right there” on the cutting edge, he said.

Although there are a few lawsuits challenging the arena, project officials moved forward with a groundbreaking last month. The venue is expected to be completed in time for the 2021-22 NHL season.

Rendering courtesy New York Arena Partners LLC.

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