The NY Islanders may be moving next door to the NY Mets
The New York Islanders' move to Brooklyn's basketball-centric Barclays Center has been routinely ridiculed by hockey fans since its announcement. But it seems that the team's new owners are trying to find a way out.
According to Bloomberg, new majority Islanders owners Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky are in talks with owners of the New York Mets, revolving around a new arena build adjacent to Citi Field in Queens.
Willets Point is emerging as a persuasive alternative to the team's current home at Brooklyn's Barclays Center if the Islanders's owners and arena officials can't agree on a series of hockey-specific improvements, said the people, who asked for anonymity because the negotiations are private.
The team's first season at Barclays Center, which is owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, was marred by poor reviews from fans, who complained about obstructed view seats, and from players, who who said the quality of the ice was sub-par. The team's owners also realized they couldn't make as much money as their league counterparts, most of which play in bigger arenas.
Barclays Center and Islanders spokespeople declined comment to Bloomberg, and Sterling Equities didn't respond to AOL.com when reached by email.
The Islanders moved to Brooklyn after a four-decade run at Long Island's Nassau Coliseum -- forced out of the county when then-owner Charles Wang was unable to gather tax dollars for a new arena. Barclays Center, not even four years old, is in pristine condition but simply not built to house an ice hockey rink. Fans last season complained of a jumbotron that wasn't on-center with the ice, and, more importantly, entire sections of seats with no view of one goal.
Another complaint among the still predominantly Long Island-centric fanbase, so used to tailgating at the Coliseum's parking lot and driving to games in less than an hour, is the travel. Fans now either need to drive from Long Island into Brooklyn and find off-site parking, or take the Long Island Rail Road -- which only rides directly to Brooklyn on select lines.
A pairing with the Mets in Flushing could be a solution. There's space for an arena where Shea Stadium stood until 2009, an already-existing mass transit hub and ample parking room -- even after a potential arena would be built.
Outside of fan complaints, NHL players complained about the poor ice quality at Barclays, and Bloomberg notes that Islanders owners are worried that the smaller capacity could translate to trouble bringing in a profit.
In February, the New York Post reported that the contract between the hockey team and Barclays Center contains a mutual opt-out after the fourth season, or the summer of 2019.
- By John Dorn
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