Nassau Coliseum operator Mikhail Prokhorov is shuttering the arena indefinitely, as he attempts to sell his management contract in the wake of an uncertain venue future due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That Prokhorov was seeking to shed the management contract is not a secret: he’s walked away from many of his sports investments. The concert industry has ground to a halt, and there’s no assurances the New York Islanders (NHL) will play at the Coliseum for the 2020-2021 NHL season before their new Belmont arena opens. While development efforts connected to venues are still happening, they’re happening more slowly, and Prokhorov will reportedly let someone pick up the management contract and its development rights for the $100 million left in arena debt service after prior arrangements. Hence the decision to more forward with layoffs and a shuttered arena. Here’s the announcement from Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports and Entertainment:
“Sadly, the unforeseeable and unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has had a devastating effect on the operations of the Coliseum and its finances, and delayed the planned development. Notwithstanding the complete lack of Coliseum income since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, to date, the Coliseum had continued to retain all of its full-time employees at full salary, made significant contributions to assist the Coliseum’s part-time event workers, fully reimbursed ticket-holders whose events were cancelled, made restitution to those who booked events cancelled by the COVID pandemic, and continued to maintain the Coliseum in pristine condition.
“While we still believe in the enormous long term economic value of the Coliseum and the development of the surrounding land, NEC recognizes that such value will be best realized by other parties.”
Nassau County officials, not surprisingly, are not thrilled. Having a new NHL arena in the area meant competition for events and concerts, which made Prokhorov’s path to profitability even more challenging. From CBS New York:
Nassau County stands to lose millions of dollars.
“I was very disappointed to hear this, but I can’t say that I was surprised. Arenas are really taking a hard hit,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.
Curran said she is not giving up on finding new ownership and developing the surrounding land.
“It’s some bad news piled on top of some bad news. We will handle it. We will look at all options, and remain optimistic for our future,” Curran said.
Image courtesy NYCB Live.
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