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Islanders, Oak View Group pitch downsized Nassau Coliseum as music venue

Nassau Coliseum

With the future use of the Nassau Coliseum up for debate, a group led by Oak View Group and the New York Islanders are pitching a downsizing of the arena to a music theater once UBS Arena opens.

The pitch from New York Arena Partners, which also includes Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, calls for another arena downsizing — the second one in less than a decade — from a 14,500-capacity sports and entertainment venue to a music theater, run in conjunction with and as a complement to UBS Arena, opening in the 2021-2022 NHL season as the home of the Islanders. New York Arena Partners proposed downsizing the arena and then running it in conjunction with UBS Arena. Strategically, it’s a smart move for New York Arena Partners: it brings a potential competitor into the fold and adds a unique venue to the local portfolio.

One small problem: Nick Mastroianni II is the new leaseholder for the shuttered venue and has not yet come up with an operating plan for the arena. He took over the lease after Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov walked away from $100 million in debt owned to Mastroianni and his investors. Adding to the complexity: the arena was previously managed by ASM Global (then AEG) and is overseeing the facility on a month-to-month agreement with Mastroianni. The Islanders are set to play in the Nassau Coliseum in the 2020-2021 NHL season, causing potential issues if Mastroianni decides to retain ASM Global. From Newsday:

“We are getting our arms around everything so we have a full understanding of the operations,” Mastroianni said. He declined to comment about Oak View Group’s proposal for downsizing the Coliseum, saying it was too soon to discuss future possibilities publicly.

Mastroianni has until next month to submit a plan to Nassau County detailing the future operations of the Coliseum, with the likelihood that the county will in turn renegotiate the financial terms of the arena lease initially negotiated with developer Bruce Ratner in 2013.

“The county gave our new tenant 60 days to come up with a plan for sustained Coliseum operations and we are glad that active discussions are taking place with Oak View Group and other potential operators,” said Evlyn Tsimis, deputy county executive for economic development.

mage courtesy Nassau Coliseum.

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