Newsday: Islanders lease is up in three years! Everybody panic!

When last we left the New York Islanders, owner Charles Wang was bemoaning the fact that he’d just gotten crushed in a public referendum on a publicly subsidized new arena, and promising only to stay in Nassau County until his lease expires in 2015. Today, it being (more or less) the one-year anniversary of the official proposal of the vague sketch of that doomed arena plan, Newsday has decided to ramp up the urgency of 2015 being only three years away, noting that “area business and civic leaders” (read: arena proponents) say that “a definitive plan has to emerge soon,” or else … something.

The paper cites as one reason for urgency that $750 million in state economic development funding must be applied for by June 15, so Nassau County needs to get on the ball if it’s going to get in on that. However, it also notes that at most $25 million of those funds will go to Long Island, which isn’t going to go far toward an arena.

The real urgency, then, is the threat of the team moving, which Wang has threatened he will do after 2015. The question is what his viable relocation options are: There’s Quebec, which has a new arena in the works and a good hockey fan base, but pales in comparison to even the Islanders’ sliver of the New York media market. There’s Brooklyn, with an arena that’s nowhere near big enough to be the regular home of NHL hockey. There’s Kansas City, with its management contract that provides no incentive for the arena operators to provide a sweetheart lease to an NHL team, and an even smaller TV market than Quebec. After that … Queens? Seattle? Duluth? While Wang certainly won’t say it out loud, with these as the alternatives, staying put in an old arena in a huge media market starts to sound better and better, especially if you think another few years of waiting will bring the chance of the arena windfall you’ve been waiting on for years.

As we just saw in Minnesota with the Vikings, a key component of getting sizable public funds for a sports facility is at least having some kind of threat of a move to scare fans (and local legislatures) with. For NFL teams, the boogeyman has been Los Angeles; my early guess is the choice to be splashing across front pages on Long Island will be Quebec, but it’s really too soon to tell, especially since another team like the Phoenix Coyotes could end up moving there in the next year or two. Check back as 2015 gets closer, and the newspaper headlines get more panicky.

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92 comments on “Newsday: Islanders lease is up in three years! Everybody panic!

  1. Charles Wang has never threatened and made that clear countless times. What’s he going to do with his 90m dollar hotel next door without the Islanders there to bring in business that he owns permanently.

    He’s also paid out of pocket to renovate an arena he’s only a tenant in with a sublease he and/or Scott Rechler share in.

    Dolan’s Newsday sees a cable contract until 2030 that they can save huge money on by the team leaving and will do everything possible toward that end plus perhaps using that money to add another entertainment venue see LA Forum.

  2. Charles Wang has never threatened and made that clear countless times. What’s he going to do with his 90m dollar hotel next door without the Islanders there to bring in business that he owns permanently.

    He’s also paid out of pocket to renovate an arena he’s only a tenant in with a sublease he and/or Scott Rechler share in.

    Dolan’s Newsday sees a cable contract until 2030 that they can save huge money on by the team leaving and will do everything possible toward that end plus perhaps using that money to add another entertainment venue see LA Forum.

  3. I certainly can’t speak to what MSG does on Islanders TV games, but to me it seems that Dolan would want the Isles to stay, not leave. Those regional sports networks (RSNs) usually draw bubkis when anything besides a live game is on. Even if the Isles cost a lot, it still boosts ratings and helps get MSG carried a little bit.

    The one market I’d add to Neil’s list is Markham. That is a serious threat. If an arena gets built in southern Ontario most likely some team (either re-located or expanded) is going to end up there.

  4. Mr Miller, why would Dolan want to give the New York Islanders hundreds of millions of dollars until 2030. The games and team are hidden on Dolan’s television network and in Dolan’s paper unless it’s an article like this one.

    Dolan does not want high Islander ratings, he wants them hidden so they move, that’s why half the games are on an Msg+2 channel with no advertising, then Dolan’s media people say the Isles are hidden because they produce low ratings.

    The Devils also have Dolan’s Msg showing their games, they did not even have a post-game show for them while doing 24/7 Ranger coverage and full post-games in the playoffs.

    They pay to control competition, not to make their competition more popular.

  5. NYIFC if what you say is plausible then honestly I shouldn’t care if the Islanders stay. The Dolan’s will update the Coliseum to being a concert venue like the LA Forum and western LI still has a venue for concerts.

    Also maybe I’m crazy but that 25 million should go to reopening some police precints that were recently shuttered in Nassau? : /

  6. How many Isles games that did not conflict with other live event telecasts of MSG properties (Devils, etc) were on MSG+? My guess is zero, but that’s just a guess.

  7. Ben Y,

    If the Dolans update the Coliseum to being a like the Forum, then you forgot to write “shit” between concert and venue.

  8. I’m curious to see how the Coyotes’ situation shakes out. Bettman announced a week ago that they had a deal in principal made with Greg Jameson, but given how these deals have collapsed in the past I’ll believe it when I see it. If the Jameson deal fails, then Bettman may finally be forced to concede defeat and allow the team to move to Quebec. That’d leave Kansas City as the only viable relocation option for the Islanders, greatly reducing Wang’s leverage. If the ‘Yotes manage to do the impossible and work out a deal to stay in Glendale that keeps the team solvent yet doesn’t run afoul of the Arizona State Constitution that has foiled previous subsidy attempts, then Quebec would very much be on the table as a bargaining chip.

    In any case, the problem the Islanders have is that there’s now 4 major arenas in the NYC area (if you’re including the Izod Center at the Meadowlands), 2 of which are brand new. There’s no way that a new arena on Long Island will be able to attract enough non-hockey events to generate the revenue needed to cover costs. You have to wonder if the operators of the other venues aren’t trying to work behind the scenes in killing any attempts for a new Islanders stadium, as it would just dilute the pool for everyone even further.

  9. You said Brooklyn is obviously too small? So that clearly settles that. Don’t know if they would make it long-term without a promised addition in seating but 14000 seats worked fine in Winnipeg and is 2000 more than their average past 20 years. It’s cost free, and its on a transportation hub. It’s almost perfect and looking more and more likely. Ur piece is an opinion piece.

  10. It’s the same layout as the Coyotes used in Phoenix, which was generally derided as awful. For one game it’ll work, but any team trying it full-time would take a huge hit in revenue compared to a new hockey-friendly arena pretty much anywhere.

  11. The coverage is not just an Islander issue on television, Dolan’s hide the Devils just as much, but Dolan owns Newsday and that means articles like this from his writers. The LI Press and many outlets have called them out for biased sports coverage which come from the workers at the paper.

    Mr Miller during the 2002 playoffs Dolan would now allow Isles-Leafs on Msg, he forced it onto a channel no one could get called Metroguide. The Isles have had games pulled since 1998, their pregame taken unless they renegotiated the cable contract.

    There is no special programming, no preseason shown.

    It’s entirely plausible Dolan can take his tv contract savings and renovate the Coliseum for his own interest with the Isles gone, but I care, you perhaps not.

    One thing for sure is he’s making no money hiding the Isles and Devils. The Sabres are also under the Msg umbrella and not happy. The NY Red Bull demanded more exposure from Dolan or would not resign on Msg.

  12. There are a lot of moving parts in this equation:

    1) The Islanders, as per both Wang and Gary Bettman, will not stay in the current Coliseum after 2014-15. Take that one to the bank.

    2) The realistic choices would appear to be Brooklyn and Markham. Brooklyn seats about 14,500 for hockey, but I wounder if there might be seats added if the Isles made a long-term commitment. Other drawback: Wang doesn’t want to be a tenant, since that’s not how you make money in the sports business — you have to control the building

    3) Watch out for Markham. Huge hockey market, Leafs have stunk for years — and Isles would have local boy John Tavares heading up a team that’s got emerging young talent. New owners would have to pay indemnities, but they would have a new facility in s hockey-mad area.

    4) And what of the Coliseum? They can start knocking it down ASAP after Isles leave. LI concert/circus fans can take trains to MSG and Brooklyn; with 4 facilities in the area, who needs the dumpy old Coliseum (it’s so empty that Madonna rented it for a month to tune up for her world tour).

    Neil, here’s a question I honestly don’t know the answer to: You and others have made a case that if a sports team leaves, the entertainment money will just go somewhere else. I agree, in general. But if there’s no Coliseum, does the (small) size of Nassau County not mean that this money goes outside the county? More so than just about any facility, the Coliseum has a large percentage of its patrons coming from outside Nassau County, meaning most of the money generated in the Coliseum would stay outside the county. You may have insights and figures that I don’t, but this sounds like a unique case — especially since the Town of Hempstead has prevented Wang from building his own project on the site (the last large piece of developable land in the county).

  13. Don,

    There are NHL facilities that stayed open for close to sixty and seventy years. You going to tell me the Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium, Igloo, Cablevision Garden, Montreal Forum, Buffalo Aud and Maple Leaf Gardens had to go by age 40 and were superior to the Coliseum beyond media rhetoric.

    Take it to the bank that there is no clock because Bettman has to do what Wang says, if he wants that team next to his hotel, that’s the way it will stay.

    Your very quick to knock down the Coliseum and give money to the Dolan’s tax exempt building in Manhattan and take away thousands of jobs and revenue that Nassau needs but more proof that the Dolan’s stand to gain by the Islanders leaving which is why their paper produces articles like this.

  14. Nassau County has 1.3 million people – if it were a city, it would be the 7th largest in the nation. I’d be really surprised if that much of the Coliseum’s clientele comes from outside the county, or at least outside Nassau + Suffolk + eastern Queens – I made the shlep there for a couple of concerts as a teenager, and have pretty much steered clear ever since, because it’s nearly impossible to get to if you’re not in a car.

    On expanding Brooklyn: Ain’t gonna happen, as the building footprint now isn’t big enough to accomodate a hockey rink with seats at both ends. This was a cost-cutting decision made when Ratner was desperate to keep the project alive – he probably regrets it now, or at least regrets not asking Wang to kick in a hundred million or so to pay to make it NHL-ready.

    As for the Islanders still being in the Coliseum after 2015, I’ll take that bet. Maybe not 2020, but there’s no way they get a new arena built in NYC by then, and I don’t see Wang jumping ship so quickly without making a few more runs at getting his cake and his NYC media market too.

  15. Neil-I disagree with you on being 3rd banana in New York is better than being in Quebec City. According to forbes the Islanders are the second to last in franchise value next to the Coyotes. For the 2010-11 season according to forbes the Islanders finished last in the league in revenue with only 63 million dollars 7 million behind the Coyotes the second worst team. What good is the Islanders great TV deal when even with it they are basically as pathetic as the Coyotes? The overall goal of any franchise is TOTAL revenue.

    Is a new arena really going to change the Islanders fortunes? It sure didn’t for the Devils. The problem is the Islanders don’t have enough fans just like the Devils don’t. 3 NHL teams even in as big a city as New York is overkill. Hockey is only 4th banana in the US.

    Quebec City wouldn’t have as great a TV deal but overall they would have more revenue. Quebec City will sell out every game at very high ticket prices. Look at the sucess Winnipeg has had. They have sold out the 1st 5 years at the second highest ticket prices in the league with a 7,000 person waiting list that was capped or it would have been higher. This season the Jets finished in the top 15 in total revenue. Quebec City is bigger than Winnipeg, growing faster, will have a bigger arena capacity and luxuary box wise. So there is no reason to think they won’t do even better than the Jets.

    If Queens or Nassau builds a new arena they are going to be in for a world of hurt. No one will show up for Islander games just like now and the team will either leave or will have to be propped up like the Coyotes indefinately beyond the $$$ for the arena itself.

    If the team does stay I like the Barclays option since the arena is already build and won’t require another 500 Million from some sucker. 14,500 seats is fine as long as people show up. 15,004 seats with 55 luxuary boxes works just fine for Winnipeg. 14,500 with 100 boxes will work for the Islanders as long as Islander fans actually exist in significant numbers(which I doubt) and SHOW UP.

    The reason American West Arena in Phoenix didn’t work was because Phoenix is an awful hockey market period. The new arena didn’t help. Matter of fact when the Coyotes moved into the new arena in Glendale their financial problems grew worst.

    The best solution for the Islanders is to move to Markham assuming the Coyotes take Quebec. They could get a good TV deal plus have guaranteed ticket sales/luxuary box sales. Sure they’d have to pay off the Leafs but I bet they’d come out way ahead compare to being in New York.

  16. It’s tough to make comparisons to the Devils’ move to Newark, because just about every NHL team has seen its revenues and value sink over the past few years. I’ll grant that NYC isn’t nearly as good a hockey town as Quebec, but I still say a metro area with 30 times as many people still counts for something. (Nassau County *by itself* has nearly double the population of metro Quebec City.)

    As for Brooklyn, don’t forget that in addition to the reduced capacity, an NHL team there would be a tenant of the Nets, so would be cut out of a lot of the revenue streams (naming rights, signage, concessions, etc.) that are a big part of the reason why Wang wants a new building in the first place. Yes, it might be preferable to staying at Nassau Coliseum long-term, but only marginally so – I don’t see Wang giving up on his hopes of a new arena of his own, either in Nassau or elsewhere, to be second fiddle in an undersized arena.

  17. Lost in all this discussion about the Islanders moving and Wang’s empty threats is a simple, undeniable fact — the Islanders are a very, very bad hockey team, as evidenced by their record during the years of Wang’s ownership. However you want to measure it — annual point totals, goal differentials, years in the playoffs — the Islanders are arguably the worst-performing team on the ice over the past decade. They’ve changed players, coaches and general managers, and the result has been the same. With the Rangers and Devils facing off in the conference championships, Newsday is routinely devoting 4-6 pages of coverage to hockey these days — and the Islanders are conspicuous by their absence. And guess what — the reason they are so bad has absolutely nothing to do with their arena.

    Yes, I can hear the contrarians saying, “But if they had a new arena, they would draw more fans, which means more revenue and then more spending by Wang on better players.” Really? You honestly believe that? That kind of “build and they will come” mentality is a fantasy, as has been proven time after time in all professional sports. (How are the Mets drawing in Citifield these days?) If Wang wants a new arena, he and his real estate friends should buy the Coliseum and invest their own money, and not ask for municipal handouts at a time when the local governments are laying off employees — employees who might actually have money to spend on Wang’s overpriced tickets for an inferior product, if they could keep their jobs.

  18. Mike….
    Unfortunately it is the arena’s fault. There have been multiple times where the Islanders have offered top free agents more money than other teams, but no one will commit to the Islanders because they play in an outdated arena. This leads to more average players on the team, which leads to an average record ( at best ) which leads to people not filling the stands. Islander fans are passionate and the team has 40 years of history. It would be the only franchise in history that moved out of a city that has won a Stanley Cup ( and they have 4 straight and 5 appearances). This team leaving would be really terrible, especially over an arena. Wang tried to buy the land, and tried to build the lighthouse project…all with his own money. But town of Hempstead shot it down. Before you post, you need to know the facts. Wang may not be the best owner, but hes sufficient and cares about the Islanders. He loses a lot of money on them, and will not fix an arena that he does not own ( even though he has paid for repairs in past). You gotta know the facts before you post buddy.

  19. “Unfortunately it is the arena’s fault. There have been multiple times where the Islanders have offered top free agents more money than other teams, but no one will commit to the Islanders because they play in an outdated arena.”

    I’m tempted to call shenanigans on this one. There are actually players who will turn down more money because the arena is less-than-state-of-the-art? Really? I can see where more money may not eliminate hesitation to join a poor team, but it would take a different kind of player to care that much about the “dated-ness” of the facility he plays in.

  20. Neil- Your making the same mistake Bettman made expanding to big population sun belt cities. Yes demographics count in sports but only if there is an interest in the sport and that team. Atlanta is a huge city, 5.2 Mil in the metro area and 5.7 Mil in the combined statistical area and little Winnipeg has only 730,000 people. Yet Atlanta wasn’t at all viable and Winnipeg is. The amount of people interested in the sport is what counts. A big population alone is worthless if very few people care or they are fans of another team in that market(Rangers). Now if you have a big population city with fans that care vs. a small population city with fans that care yes the big city wins hands down.

    The fact is that when a team sinks consistently to Phoenix Coyotesque type levels of revenue demographics don’t mean a thing anymore. It isn’t a viable team at that point.

    The Devil situation is relevant. The Devils were given a massive handout for a new arena yet the owner is going bankrupt. Not one time since the Prudential Center opened have the Devils drawn above league average attendance. If a new arena for the Devils doesn’t work what is going to make it work for the Islanders when they are less popular than the Devils?

    Since the 1989-90 season the Devils have finished above league average in attendance only 4 of 22 seasons. The Islanders are 0 for 22. Isn’t it a fair question to ask if New York can support 3 teams? 22 million people in one area is impressive but how many of those people are Ranger fans or don’t care about hockey?

    I agree with you on your point about Wang being a tenant. But there is incentive for Barclays to find a way to give him a fair deal. The reason being if a new arena is built in let’s say Queens it will make it mighty tough on the Barclays people to attract concerts etc. with having 3 other modern arenas in the area to compete with plus the Izod Center and Nassau if they don’t knock it down.
    There is also incentive for Wang to cut a Barclays deal. He won’t have to spend his own money on his share of construction cost assuming someone isn’t stupid enough to publically finance the arena 100%.

    I also agree Wang will keep trying for a new arena. I’m sure he’s of the “build it and they will come” mindset as all sports owners are. I just feel sorry for whatever dumb sucker that builds it. They might as well rename it Glendale arena North part 2. This has crushing disaster written all over it.

  21. Does anyone on here think that a new arena will be built for the Islanders in (if not Nassau) Queens or Suffolk County? Some people are saying that Brooklyn is too small to house an NHL team. I’m not sure if that’s true. It would be a shame if the Islanders left the Long Island area or if they can’t build a new arena in Queens or Suffolk County (or play in Brooklyn) because they have been around for a long time. They have three years to get things solved. Hopefully things work out. If not, Quebec City, Markham / Southern Ontario, Seattle could have an NHL team in their city. Between the Islanders & Coyotes, my guess is that one of these three cities will have an NHL team for the 2014-2015 season. Especially if things don’t work out in Glendale.

  22. Suffolk is way too inaccessible from anywhere but Long Island to work as a major arena venue. As for Queens, you’d need a bunch of city money, as you’d be entering a crowded arena market, as other commenters above have noted – and on top of that, you’d need to find a place to put it. The Citi Field parking lot *could* work, but there’s talk of soccer there as well. And, of course, you’d still need a place to park all the cars.

    Has there ever been consideration given to elsewhere in Nassau County? I’d have thought that this would be a perfect place to play towns off against each other in “Who Wants To Be The Next Islanders Home?” I never understood why Wang was so fixated on Hempstead.

  23. Neil:

    One of the popular “other spots” mentioned in Nassau is Belmont Park, which has plenty of room and a rail connection. I live right near Belmont (I can walk there), and I can assure you — we don’t want a Coliseum. I don’t think there are a lot of places that are jumping up and down at the idea. And you’re right — Suffolk isn’t happening either; too far away. No one’s building an arena in Queens with a new building opening in Brooklyn and a renovated MSG already within the five boroughs.

    For those who are skeptical, there is an excellent fan base — given that the team has been in the bottom 5 in each of the last 5 seasons (an NHL first), the team’s attendance is actually pretty impressive. Perhaps Mr. Wang might try pumping some effort into the on-ice product to drum up some enthusiasm (think mid-1990s Seattle Mariners).

    To those who wonder about the Coliseum being “only” 40 years old — it was built on the cheap and maintained poorly (if at all) for many years. It needs fairly extensive repairs (roof, seats) just to get to 2015. It’s the NHL’s smallest U.S.-based building (16,234, including 33 suites). The Coliseum has great history (4 straight Stanley Cups in the 1980s), but not much else. Brooklyn, with 14,500 seats but 100 suites, would likely generate more $$ — though attendance was up this season, a lot of the tickets at the Coliseum are sold at less than face value.

    Nassau politicians are already scrambling to cover their a***s for the eventual departure of the team — the only way they’ll be there after 2015 is with a commitment for a new facility. No one wants to have the Isles’ departure happen on their watch — but no one wants to have anything to do with a new building (largely, I suspect, because Wang hasn’t paid off the right people). Watch the politicians run for cover when the announcement of the move comes.

  24. Neil and Field of Schemes brethren:

    First of all, before I try to contribute, I want to point out that your first poster is ostensibly an organization/website, New York Islanders Fan Central. “They” appear to have a lot of spare time to comment quickly on everything bearing Charles Wang’s name, and appear to be paid employees of his, IMO, doing damage control for the guy.

    That being said, “they” make a remote point about the collusive nature of some of the business dealings in the NHL. Wang has his RSN money coming from James Dolan, who owns the Garden/Rangers. Wang and Charles Dolan (ÔøΩDaddy WarbucksÔøΩ Dolan, if you will, founded Cablevision and the MSG networks) lives down the same street as Wang. They’re long-time neighbors! To top that, SMG, the company that manages the Coliseum facility, is owned by Ed Snider, the same guy who also owns the NHL’s Flyers franchise.

    These relationships are viewed as adversarial by the naive or by idiots.

    To respond to Ben, the Markham thing is never going to happen for a multitude of reasons, as there is no arena built, much less Toronto and Buffalo owners are not likely to allow that to happen without a fight, even with an arena.

    The Brooklyn thing will never happen for the very reason you posted.

    The bottom line, and what makes this situation somewhat unique, is the specter of 77 prime acres of real estate that surrounds the Coliseum facility.

    Wang clearly bought the team with hoping to use the franchise as a vehicle to the rights of land development, which is a big reason why the actual hockey operations has dissolved into a dog and pony show. He has also alienated fans by treating various alumni poorly, in one special case literally erasing a former great Islander player from team photos and such, as well as selling a rebuild to the team’s fans, and subsequently firing vital people in hockey ops critical to rebuild on the ice.

    The only reason he has not already sold to Quebecor media and rid himself of what is basically a tax write off for him (and, btw, the neighboring Marriott is actually turns a profit since it is located so centrally in relation to LIÔøΩs parkways), is the team is legally bound to play at Coliseum until 2015, anyway, and he could still pursue future land development at the Nassau Hub site in the interim.

    Add into this horrible mix that NIFA is watching over Nassau government’s fiscal operations since the County is flat broke, and you have a complete disaster.

    And as if that needed topping, Bettman was on record early on in his stint as commissioner that he thought the NY market was super-saturated. This was when he was still green on the job, before he learned to shut his mouth. The League has done little to intervene in the joke that has become the NY Islanders.
    Neil, you are informed well, but I believe that this situation resembles more the Seattle SuperSonics than the Vikings for all of the reasons above. As you know, sports owners recoup yearly losses by selling at an overinflated value. I see that in the works, here.

    Quebecor Media has stated its’ intention to get an NHL team in the new building, which, funny enough, is ready to go when the Coliseum lease expires, and they have the money to overpay.

    I believe it’s over for the Islanders. Quebec Nordiques are coming.

  25. Jon W- Let’s hope your right. Both the New York area and the Islanders would be better off without each other. I never knew Bettman said that about New York being super saturated but he’s right. Look at the historical attendance figures for both the Devils and Islanders. 3 teams for the 4th most popular sport doesn’t work even in big New York.
    Moving to Quebec would save the New York area 500M in arena handouts plus the hundreds of millions in “arena management fees” that the Islanders will be forced to ask for when no one shows up to the new arena ala Glendale.

  26. You make excellent points, Jon W – though one major difference with the Sonics situation is there you had an owner who had a city he bought the team already wanting to move to. The analagous scenario would be if Quebecor already owned the Islanders.

    I’d agree that a Quebec move makes the most sense if the Islanders do leave. But there are so many variables at play – the Coyotes could get there first, Wang could get a new arena locally (or think he can), he could be unable to arrive at a sale price with Quebecor – that I’d still put even odds or better on the Islanders being on the Island in 2016.

  27. Jon W,

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but not allowed re-write history to suit your views.

    New York Islander Fan Central is a fan blog that has no affiliation with the New York Islanders in any way. To suggest we are associated with the or an organizational website is incorrect.

    Our blog does not have any spare time but we do have what most lack and that’s a decade of coverage and articles with the original wording so we can hold everyone (especially Charles Wang) to his word.

    He’s kept his word, renovated his landlords building many times and spent hundreds of millions on players (and saved Roy Boe again in Bridgeport) and got nothing for his trouble while every team got huge taxpayer assistance.

    He’s agreed to renovations, real estate projects, referendum, anything to get SOMETHING done, he did over 200 meetings on one project lost close to 20m (with Scott Rechler) and ran around fighting for a referendum no other local team had to endure for their taxpayer assistance.

    What did he agree to last summer? A 30 year lease with no real estate development rights.

    Charles Dolan was a founder of Msg Network? Afraid not.

    Gary Bettman said the market was over saturated in 1993? Guess he changed his mind when the Devils won the cup and were headed for Nashville in 95 anyway.

    The Dolan’s pulled the Isles off television in 1998 as James Dolan took more and more control from his father until the cable contract they signed was reworked. Msg gave away eighteen percent of all revenue and invoked a phony competition clause. After the new agreement Isles playoff games were hidden on Metroguide, pre-games pulled and the Dolan’s even fought the team over Metro Ice challenge charity money and refused to play the Isles in preseason or show them on television beyond games on hidden channels like Msg+2 which used to be Sportschannel before Rupert Murdoch and Dolan merged and Fox Sports Net started before that went very ugly and we got the re re branded Msg+2.

    James Dolan bought Newsday and buried them even more and did everything possible to defeat the referendum before a tepid late endorsement that only said the process should continue.

    They want to save hundreds of millions and drive out their competition for good.

    Perhaps someone would like to explain how Charles Wang (and Sanjay Kumar) buy a team for real estate as full time CA employees at the time who have never developed a thing in their lives knowing the last real estate billionaire in Howard Milstein needed three months to find out no real estate development would be acceptable to Al D’Amato or Joe Mondello.

    Wang decided on the Lighthouse in 2004 after Nassau told him they are broke in 2002, in 2002 Wang also said it was not the right time for a public bond. By 2005 Wang brought in Scott Rechler and the long wait began after Wang spent hundreds of millions on players and renovating Ed Snider’s Smg managed facility for Nassau.

    That would be the same Ed Snider who also managed the building in Pittsburgh as Mario was selling off players while Wang was paying Yashin, Peca and many others and the team made four playoffs in six years wile the Pens had 10,000 fans.

    Jon unfortunately seems to selectively omit Charles Wang signed a sublease in Dec 2009 that allows him to opt out of that sub lease and move immediately, he only needs Nassau’s permission.

    Wang also now manages the arena in Bridgeport and did that deal last summer until 2021 and made clear that team is not moving.

    Funny, Wang got no development rights in Bridgeport if it’s all about real estate?

    I have no idea if the Marriott makes a profit, what I do know is Charles Wang is going on 68 years old this summer, never got anything done in Plainville (even with Rechler in 2007) and has less than a billion dollars in assets.

    Wang owns the hotel, he owns the connecting abatement to the Coliseum, that’s it.

    As for the alumni some of us actually watch more than one Ranger writer at the WSJ did with an angry former media relations coordinator. Like the 2/12/2012 video showing the Easter Epic with tons of historical content and countless mentions of Lafontaine all season.

    Never mind Wang gave Lafontaine a night 11/8/2003 where he requested no gifts, retired Trottier, had the core of the four in many times, had the Arbour game and started the Isles Hall Of Fame.

    That would also be the same Charles Wang who pays out of pocket for the Lighthouse Tournament every year flying in kids from around the world to zero media. He did it in 2012 also.

    Best way to sum this up. Bloomberg refuses to pay the cops and fireman but hands Dolan his 11m dollar a year tax exemption for life. The Coliseum hosts the NYPD-NYFD game each year and Nassau will do nothing for the Coliseum or the Isles.

    Mr deMause, you have my e-mail. I will be happy to produce any supporting articles with quotes.

  28. One other item. If Wang is as bad as some people claim, why did everyone who could leave resign?

    They all had options and could have ripped him and demanded out.

    How come current and former players are not ripping him, those people work there daily and know best.

    Why resign at all?

    Tavares, Moulson, Okposo, Grabner, Bailey, Niederreiter, Strome, Nelson, they signed long term deals and were thrilled.

    Frans Nielsen was hyped for the Selke last year, why did he take a four year contract when he could finally get away from Wang in July?

    How come the goalie they made play here who refused to report last year and got stuck with a 500k contract liked working for Wang so much he was thrilled to resign on a team with lots of goaltenders?

    How many times has Parenteau make clear he loves being on this team and wants to come back?

    Charles Wang has owned this team since 2000, how come all the former players do nothing but praise him? Peca (who blasted Edmonton) Osgood, Yashin, Trent Hunter the day of the referendum after he was bought out?

    Jason Blake in his final year (off 40 goals) begged to be resigned, he got to Toronto and said how much he missed playing here.

    If he were that bad an owner the players would be the ones ripping how he does things. He cannot offer front-load contracts, Toronto and Montreal will not either.

  29. Neil,

    The Sonics were owned, before selling to the ownership group that was to invariably move them out of Seattle, by Howard Schultz. He promised to keep them in Seattle but, as you know, demanded a new arena paid by the city for their “survival”. When he couldn’t get one, instead of becoming the villain and moving them outright, he sold them to a group whose intentions were to move.

    In other words, Schultz washed his hands, but knew they were to move after he sold. He indirectly moved them, if you will.

    That makes this situation with Wang directly analogous to the one with Seattle, IMO.

    To NYIFwhatever,

    First of all, the voluminous commentary supporting Wang (two posts worth, no less!); coupled with your rapidity to respond, belies your claim that you are not connected with the Islanders, somehow. You may not be getting checks cut from Wang or NYI LLC., but you know someone. You are a “professional fan”, peripherally connected.

    If that is not the case, why not just reveal who you are? And….quick! Say one thing negative about Wang. Ready?…….GO!!!

    Nevermind his checkered past in the business world (see what the SEC had to say about him).

    ….And you did bring up one valid point accidentally. Wang’s contracts he offered to unrestricted free agents in the past few years have strictly been PR grabs, as they’ve been backloaded deals the Isles management knew full well would never be accepted. His M.O. is to spend as little on the Islanders’ infrastructure as possible and ride it out until July 2015.

  30. Mark,

    I want to reply to your post.

    I do have to say that the Islanders DO have a solid fanbase that has been treated like ownership’s personal roll of toilet paper. They’ve have been so perenially bad that it is difficult to quantify juyst how much fan support they’d actually have, if they were run like an average NHL team.

    If you understand the demographics of the NY metro area, there are certainly enough people and enough people with money to support the team. That’s what makes the mismanagement of misuse of the team that much more frustrating, as a fan of the team.

    I don’t necessarily think Long Island would be better without them.

  31. Jon,

    What you write is my voluminous commentary is simply someone who has easy access to past facts as a dedicated fan just as I’m sure Mr deMause has greater details of some arena/stadium deals than others.

    Why do I have to write something negative about a man who’s lost hundreds of millions of dollars, who pays his players and renovates his landlords building while agreeing to any kind of plan Nassau will put forward while he’s the only one not to get a local taxpayer facility?

    He’s done his job, his team is close to winning with a very strong prospect core in place, and the players working there believe that.

    Last I looked Charles Wang is not the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates who got a new stadium via the taxpayers and receives revenue sharing from baseball so he can make a big profit (30m via NY Times) to spend less?

    I could care less about Computer Associates or what he was investigated for because no one charged him with anything. Bottom line he’s owned an NHL franchise since 2000 and never done a single thing against the league rules while a lot of owners have given up and let the league run the team in bankruptcy.

    So spending money on player contracts was a P.R grab? This was the owner who gave Yashin 88m dollars, Peca 20m, DiPietro 68m.

    Something tells me he might have gotten better PR just keeping the kids like Luongo, Chara, Connolly back then and keeping his money in the bank but like now the fans were tired of waiting so Milbury saved his job and made them a playoff team.

    Funny, but the last owner here wanted Palffy traded to Cablevision for money against the Cable contract, then the league voided one deal to the Kings.

    So how come a man spending as little on what you call infrastructure as possible had a payroll close to 45m for years before the NHL had ANY salary floor and many other teams spending much less in modern buildings?

    Why is he signing ANY prospects. He gave a third round pick the only max contract since the lockout to sign here (Anders Nilsson) last summer.

    Ed Snider’s Flyers even copied Wang signing James van Riemsdyk back-loaded last summer to a six year contract in August.

    Why did Wang authorize a contract approaching 30m dollars for Christian Ehrhoff last summer which was not backloaded which he praised when he signed in Buffalo as a great offer?

    Again, you are entitled to your opinion, but you cannot create your own facts/history. Kate Murray was the one who had daddy on the towns payroll and hired Frederick P Clarke of Westchester to do a local project.

  32. I think we’re all in agreement that Wang would stay if a new arena dropped into his lap, yes? So at this point it’s just a question of how long he’s willing to wait before pulling the plug and taking the best offer currently on the table, whether that’s Quebec or elsewhere.

    Schultz in Seattle was an extreme case of an owner who decided to cash in by selling to owners who wanted to move the team (to an arena that was already built) before beating his head against local government too many times. In the vast majority of cases, owners are more patient than that.

    If I had to guess at a scenario, it’d be that a year or so before the lease expires, Wang (or Bettman) will start turning up the heat for “Build something now or else the team is gone!” Then if nothing gets approved, there’ll be a lease extension for a year or two in hopes that a new legislative year will change matters. Then either he’ll get an arena, or he’ll sell to someone else.

    In other words, basically what we’ve just seen with both the Vikings and the Kings.

  33. Neil,

    ….so you don’t think that the opening of Quebec’s new arena, which coincides directly with the expiration of the Nassau Coliseum lease in July 2015 is just a bit too perfect, timing wise, for all parties involved?

  34. Jon:

    The timing of Kansas City’s new arena opening certainly wasn’t a bit too perfect for them to get a team (the Sprint Center still doesn’t have a NHL or NBA team). Or what about that NFL team in San Antonio, am I right?

    Other areas that have broken ground on a new stadium/arena before being given a team:
    Nashville (Arena broke ground in ’94; Arena Opened in ’96; Team not granted until ’97; Team began play in ’98)
    New Orleans (Arena broke ground in ’95; Arena opened in ’99; Hornets moved there in ’02)

    I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

  35. Anon:

    Definitely not holding my breath – I don’t want them to move.

    However, they will.

    I don’t know if you follow hockey, or the business of hockey, which is much different in nature than the NFL or even the NBA, but there are fairly deep ties to Quebec City and professional hockey in spite of Quebec City’s size.

    The biggest advantage they may actually have this time around (aside from the fact that Quebec is in much better fiscal shape and more stable muncipally than they were some 15+ years ago, when they had the team moved on them# is that the leading Canadian Francophone media company wants an NHL team. They have deep pockets and will overpay to get one.

    CBC and RDS will also share a piece of the Canadian National TV rights with a team that moves to Quebec and will broadcast at least games once week to the province, or nationally.

    Quebecor could very easily start their own network for the Nordiques #being a media company and all), as RSN for the rest of their games. They could also insulate the team to a degree, as all team owned networks tend to do to their home teams.

    Of course, more importantly, the team owned network would likely be a cash cow for a hockey starved area on top of the two slices they’d already be getting from the aforementioned traditional networks.

    Not to mention that CBC’s contract expires before 2015, and the next national NHL contract promises to net a hell of a lot of money, which is even a bigger slice for Quebec’s potential ownership.

    Not trying to argue for it to happen, but for all of those reasons, as well as the eternal state of idiocy and inertia presented by the current owner of the Islanders, I almost cannot see this not happening.

    The Islanders fan base desperately needs to force Bettman’s hand somehow and coerce him into including a public advocate on the New York Islanders’ Board of Directors, IMO. They’re done like dinner, otherwise.

  36. Because they hate football in San Antonio. No deep ties to football at all in Texas.

    Just because you build it, it doesn’t mean they’ll come.

  37. Brooklyn arena would AT LEAST be only 500 less than the arena in winnipeg(and they could probably squeeze another couple hundred in easily in the part of the rink where seats will be taken down), so who are you to say it is too small to have regular NHL games if Winnipeg is acceptable?

  38. Hope you are right in the end, but I’m afraid that your Alamodome analogy is quite poor.

    Yes, San Antonio wants an NFL team, but built the facility as a multi-purpose so the NBA Spurs could play there, which they did for 10 seasons.

    The arena in Quebec is built primarily for hockey and Quebecor is loaded for bear to make a pitch. Nassau and Suffolk Counties are both flat broke, and Brooklyn is not an option.
    There is no comparison with San Antonio and Quebec City, whatsoever.

  39. Hope you are right in the end, but I’m afraid that your Alamodome analogy is quite poor.

    Yes, San Antonio wants an NFL team, but built the facility as a multi-purpose so the NBA Spurs could play there, which they did for 10 seasons.

    The arena in Quebec is built primarily for hockey and Quebecor is loaded for bear to make a pitch. Nassau and Suffolk Counties are both flat broke, and Brooklyn is not an option.

    There is no comparison with San Antonio and Quebec City, whatsoever.

  40. Frenchie, you are seriously delusional if you don’t think the Alamodome was built to land an NFL team. The Spurs played there because their previous arena was old and sucked, not because it was designed as a basketball arena. They literally pulled a giant curtain across the field and had people sit on bleachers for one section (the other three being the end of the football field). There’s a reason they built an actual basketball arena shortly thereafter.

    Just because you build an arena, it doesn’t mean an NHL team will come. You Canuckians need to stop thinking Winnipeg is the rule and not the exception.

  41. Anon: Ahhh yes. The last refuge of the prideful person that has lost the polemic – namecall.

    This may come as a major shock, but I was born and raised on Long Island (in Nassau, as matter of fact) and am in no way French or Canadian.

    Nice try there! Better luck next time!

    But be proud that you have proven yourself to be a racist, prejudiced jerk, though.

  42. Jon W- Thanks for your reply.

    The Islanders ownership is bad but still to have a fan level below the Phoenix Coyotes is awful. The problems go way beyond Charlie Wang and Nassau Coliseum. Not once since 89-90 have the Islanders drawn above 15,000 people. Even Phoenix did that a few times. And only 2 times have the Islanders drawn over 14,000 fans. You say winning will help but I don’t believe it will. The Devils have won 3 cups and appeared in another Stanley Cup finals and may win it again this year, yet only 4 times have they drawn above league average attendance since 89 and the owner is going to declare bankruptcy this summer. This season the Devils only drew 15,396 fans good for only 24th in the league in what may very well be a cup winning season. If winning plus a new arena doesn’t help the Devils why will those things make a difference for an even less popular team like the Islanders? It won’t. The fact is most people in New York are Rangers fans or don’t care about hockey. That leaves very few people for the Devils and Islanders. The historical attendance figures and financial trouble both teams have had and will continue to have are no accident.

    I don’t believe in giving public money for sports arenas/stadiums anyway even for popular teams but it’s even dumber to build an arena for a team no one cares about other than a few die hards. If Barclays isn’t good enough for the Islanders than good riddance!!! Best of luck in Canada or Seattle. The few Islander fans in the area can become Devil fans or quit watching hockey for all I care. There are plenty of good seats available at the Prudential Center.

  43. Mark,

    I, too, appreciate your reply.

    I believe where you are mistaken is looking at the attendance numbers without actually seeing and considering the configuration of the different arenas.

    Look, it’s true that the Islanders ticket sales were insane during the late 70’s and early 80’s, when they actually had to sell standing room and counted it toward attendance!

    However, that being said, the Islanders arena capacity was in the high 15,000’s total until 02′, when they expanded to the current 16,234.

    The reason this is important is unless you are winning cups, people tend to opt to wait for seats that are affordable to become available.

    In fact, that makes their 2002-2003 attendance figures much more impressive, when figuring that much buzz was made about virtually nothing in the way of performance, as they basically did draw an average of 15,000 that year (14,930) – attracting those customers from one round of playoffs the prior campaign in which they were highly competitive and lost.

    Phoenix, on the other hand, is 18,000 with standing room, which is considerably more seats than the Nassau Coliseum.

    Look, I can tell from your tone and your remarks at the end that you do not know the NY metro area, nor do you give a rat’s ass, which is fine; however, please believe me when I tell you that the Islanders, if they were actually run like an NHL team for a few years, would have a very strong fanbase – much stronger than the Devils.

  44. Forgive me, but I decided that I left stuff out.

    I, too, do not believe it’s right for the taxpayers of ANY municipality to dole out public funds for strictly private gain without so much as a technological advancement, so my argument has nothing to do with that.

    I will tell you that, when I was a kid watching the Islanders, there was a buzz around the team, moreso than surrounded the Rangers. You literally could not get a seat. When you look at the attendance figs for the NVMC, consider that until 1982, the actual seating capacity was 14997.

    This is why I think it’s important to look at arena capacity and configuration, when assessing and comparing team’s ticket sales.

    Anyway, my father used to have to wait for tickets to buy from a doctor friend of his, whom had seasons.

    It was much, much different than the Devils.
    I know that is anecdotal and qualitative, but it’s very true.

  45. Mark,

    So no taxpayer funding for the Islanders but massive taxpayer funding for every other New York and New Jersey team, even the Metrostars.

    Absolutely all over Canada for Quebec, Edmonton too. Last I looked Ed Snider’s Philly Live (his Lighthouse) on old spectrum site is a go via taxpayers too.

    Of course the Dolan’s 1981 tax exemption and low cost electricity which is why they are renovating.
    *****************************************
    Jon,

    Where’s that Marroitt Hotel is making a profit article?

    For someone who claims to live in the New York market and be a dedicated Islander fan who seems to know how hard it used to be getting tickets for games you fail to understand the attendance history of all teams beyond Espn links and padded numbers.

    The Mets, Yankees had many seasons where 10,000 was the norm and far less. The garden would be empty for Knick and Ranger games with many padded announced sellouts unless the Islanders or Devils were the opposition. The Nets have never won and have had horrible attendance history all over New Jersey and games under 10,000 this year in Newark.

    We had the Cosmos in New Jersey who went from 80,000 to out of existence.

    The Devils have had many winning years and horrible attendance. Stubhub at Msg has thousands of available seats for the Rangers. Their no blue campaign is something I expect from Dolan.

    By all means let the President of Msg tell you about attendance problems. I have a ton of similar articles.

    www.nytimes.com/2002/11/01/sports/pro-basketball-sellout-streak-nears-end.html

    ”It’s a reality we all knew would come,” said Steve Mills, president of team operations for the Garden. ”We’ve been focused on it and dealt with it last season with the Rangers.” The Rangers sold out about half their games.
    ***************************
    By all means let the Rangers fans tell you themselves about their own attendance problems and Islander fans at Msg:

    www.scottyhockey.blogspot.com/2009/12/1…rved-point.html

    The stage was set for the biggest, best game of the season to date: day after Christmas, the first legitimate sell-out since opening night, facing the Islanders – the Islanders who embarrassed them just weeks ago.

    www.scottyhockey.blogspot.com/2009/12/1…-can-we-go.html

    *If the Garden had 14,000 fans on Monday, then there were 12,000 tonight. For an Islander game. And that number includes several thousand Islander fans as well. Makes me sick and quite angry. And the fans who did show clearly never got into the game, outside of yelling ‘Potvin Sucks’ a dozen times and to join in on the ‘Fire Sather’ chants.

  46. I’m glad to see the name-calling has stopped, but if anyone even thinks about starting it up again, I’m going to start deleting comments and banning people. Thank you.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled debate over Islanders attendance figures.

  47. Sage advice, Neil. Now, back to the point at hand.

    The reality is that there is no money in Nassau (or Suffolk) country’s budget to fund any appreciable investment in a new Coliseum for the Islanders. And the ideal of floating government-backed bonds is dead on arrival, as evidenced by both last summer’s vote and the tough stance NIFA (the body overseeing Nassau’s finances) has taken on long-term borrowing. It will have to be funded, almost exclusively, by the private sector, whether it’s Wang and/or others. That’s pretty much undeniable, so let’s move on to what it would take to get the private sector interested in making that kind of financial commitment. Nassau’s county executive has been pretty “liberal” in giving away tax incentives to companies as a means either to keep them located here or to entice others to move, but that’s only going to have so much allure to developers.

    The reality is that the Islanders simply may not be a strong enough basis for a financial investment by any developer, because they are not good enough to draw large-enough crowds to deliver a suitable ROI.

  48. Mike, I agree with every single thing you said, there. I could not have said it any better.

    My only point of contention with attendance figures (and the reason it may seem like I’m belaboring it) is, at one point, this franchise would have been highly politically viable and considered a very good investment for development (it was once known as the model franchise for the NHL with a very small but highly efficient hockey operations staff and an affluent, large fanbase, best cable contract in sports, and high profit margin).

    The fact is Wang inherited a situation where the baby was thrown out with the bathwater, and has done everything contraindicated to revive the goose that laid the golden egg (forgive the cliches, please).

    That’s why he has alienated the Islanders’ true fanbase.

  49. Mike,

    The Isles drew over 13,000 people in a 16,000 seat facility despite being a team well out of contention with no media hidden on television. This is not the late 60’s Yankees or the late 70’s Mets.

    Over 67,000 people last summer voted to have a $58.00 30 year tax increase which was automatic because Mangano directed regardless how the Coliseum did financially did it would go into Nassau’s general fund.

    The problem for a developer is not the Isles because of a lot of other big crowds for Events and Concerts are part of it. The problem is the land available to be developed without a parking garage because the Coliseum site is simply not that big.

    A garage costs huge money.

  50. Since when are Canadians and/or the French/Quebecois a race? I’ll freely admit that I’m a jerk to people who make up facts about the Alamodome, however. Being from Texas, I think I may know a thing or two about the stadium. The stadium was built to lure in an NFL team. It never happened. End of story.

  51. Jon W,

    Charles Wang has done absolutely nothing to alienate this teams fan-base. He’s agreed to renovations, developments, referendum, bonds and invested his own money into a building he does not own to renovate many times.

    Wang and Scott Rechler did 200 community meetings, invested 20m dollars and got every door slammed on them because of political football, that has gone on for over 20 years regardless how the team played or how many people went.

    I’m very sorry you don’t blame Joe Mondello, Al D’Amato, Kate Murray, Tom Gulotta, Tom Suozzi, Judy Jacobs, Jay Jacobs, Stuart Rabinowicz, and many other is business and politics who have seen the Coliseum site as something which can make them money and will not give it up for decades so nothing get’s done intentionally because it’s not their project.

    Bottom line is Charles Wang is not going to simply throw more money out the window on poor free agent bets or badly overpay because you are frustrated considering how frustrated he has been made by many despite spending hundreds of millions on players already.

    All I read are absurd conspiracies Niederreiter was here only because of the cap. Sounds nice, reads well but begs the question why not just have deHaan here with his ELC who was drafted three years ago if players are really being rushed? Next time I see one ELC to an Islander player that’s different that 29 other NHL teams will be the first.

  52. NYIFC, I certainly respect your opinions, as inflexible as they seem to be. What’s more relevant to this discussion, I believe, is what you would propose be done to finance a new Coliseum, since public funding is pretty much off the table. Although I am adamantly opposed to public funding (state, county, any kind) of private sports arenas (no, I’m not a Tea Party member or backer of their minimalist government stance), I very much would like to see the Islanders stay here and have a new Coliseum built. I just think Mr. Wang — who arguably has the best connections of anyone on Long Island to local real-estate developers — should be responsible for funding an arena when he and his team will be the primary beneficiaries.

  53. NYIFC, just to put your stats about the Islanders’ attendance into a clearer perspective…..

    For the past six years, the Islanders have not averaged more than 13,773 per game — well below the league average. The Islanders have ranked between 28th and 30th in attendance in each of the past six years, and finished dead last in three of those years. Although I feel the composition of the current team is finally a step in the right direction with the emphasis on youth, even you can’t deny that there is a direct correlation between the Islanders’ terrible on-ice performance and their abysmal attendance figures.

  54. NYIFC, just to put your stats about the Islanders’ attendance into a clearer perspective…..

    For the past six years, the Islanders have not averaged more than 13,773 per game — well below the league average. The Islanders have ranked between 28th and 30th in attendance in each of the past six years, and finished dead last in three of those years. Although I feel the composition of the current team is finally a step in the right direction with the emphasis on youth, even you can’t deny that there is a direct correlation between the Islanders’ terrible on-ice performance and their abysmal attendance figures.

  55. Mike, I made a suggestion about financing today on my site for Mr Mangano and sent it to his twitter account that Peter Schmitt said was how the Coliseum revonation financing would be setup for the Lighthouse in September 2004.

    The bottom line that I have maintained since last summer (knowing pre referendum it would be defeated because it was not done behind closed doors) is we already know what Charles Wang will sign up for and that’s a deal where he replaces Smg and makes all event revenue in exchange for where he pays 14 million in rent and pays Nassau eleven percent of all Coliseum revenue while he manages and operates the Coliseum with no development rights.

    That’s what’s he doing in Bridgeport as of last summer, he got a naming rights deal too and it’s profitable.

    That’s the framework for what should eventually happen because Wang has his hotel and it’s not going anywhere after 2015.

    Beyond that lottery’s, surcharges, ticket taxes, anything can be done to fund a facility along with tax exemptions to whoever owns the Isles moving forward.

    Imagine if Wang got Dolan’s 1981 exemption of 11m a year with revenue sharing in a new CBA?

    Nassau Dems as of this week are already acknowledging they will have to put some up public money. The state in 1997 awarded the Coliseum 30m to be used which never was to date.

    Reality is every team got (or in Canada is getting) a partly taxpayer funded facility or a renovation or a permanent exemption, the only man who lost 20m who tried to do it without the taxpayers is the only one getting told to pay for everything. That’s not fair.

    As for the attendance not much I can write because if three thousand more went and every game was sold out the avg will still be in the bottom five or six.

    Chicago had years with 3,000 fans. Dallas had games with 6,000 this year. Isles had games in blizzards a few years with no people to drag down numbers. Boston had many years around 10,000 or less, same for Pittsburgh. Detroit opened a new building in the 80’s and played in front of 3,000 and could not sellout playoff games a few years ago. Colorado has been a ghost-town. Devils, Washington for years played in front of thousands of empty seats. Kings too. The Blues had only fifty percent of seats filled a few years. Rangers many years (including this year) with many padded sellouts. Carolina, Nashville, Columbus, Florida you could pick virtually any team sooner or later.

    The Flyers building in 2007 was empty after the first month. Remember all the Isles fans in there the final weekend?

    In March 84 I went to Maple Leaf Gardens to see the Isles (with brand new rookies Lafontaine-Flatley) beat the Leafs 11-6 with a group of Isles fans (bus-loads) we had a few thousand seats dead center ice in a partly empty building.

    Sooner or later it happens everywhere.

  56. NYIFC,

    I will write back for a last time to say that I will give you guys credit where it is due to try to communicate with our elected representatives in Nassau and let them know we’re still around, if nothing else. However, I still maintain that your site, as well as the rest of the sites in the “Islanders Blogosphere” have aided and abetted Charles Wang in hindering and crippling this franchise by acting as his mouthpiece. You are what I deem as “professional fans”, your site has a direct link to the New York Islanders website for crying out loud (how do I do about getting one on my site? Maybe Neil wants one, too?).

    Anyway, I feel like I should respond again before your group puts in its’ last 2 cents of propaganda.

    First, you keep saying I “rewrite history.” This is more than a bit of a projection on your part.
    I may not be actively researching, as I opine, but you intentionally distort events. Frankly, I do not have nor want to waste the rest of the night going through all of your posts with as fine-toothed comb, so I will just speak to a few things that just stick out like a sore thumb.

    “Charles Wang has never threatened (to leave)”

    Well, no he has not directly said those words. He just said that he was a “free agent and exploring all options” about a year ago, and has said squat since. That is not exactly threatening to stay, either.

    “Dolan’s Newsday sees a cable contract until 2030 that they can save huge money on by the team leaving and will do everything possible toward that end plus perhaps using that money to add another entertainment venue see LA Forum”

    That is conjecture, and, I don’t think it makes sense. Why did Wang sign the cable contract with his neighbor’s son (James Dolan) that lasts until 2030, if James has it in for him? I think this is pure fantasy. As another person said here, I call shenanigans!

    Now, you corrected me that Charles Dolan did not originally own MSG network, which is a total joke. Okay, he was the second guy to be in a high level of involvement with them after the entity existed for a single year in 1970, when Dolan was the President of Sterling Manhattan Cable. How nice of you to split hairs, though. Again, I call shenanigans!

    “What did he agree to last summer? A 30 year lease with no real estate development rights”

    Yeah, if he had a brand new arena paid for entirely by a Muni. Bond from the taxpayers. Gee, what a martyr!

    And, btw, in his lighthouse project, the arena was not even going to be rebuilt; he was going to remodel/renovate it. And he was planning on starting the construction peripheral to the arena, first, which tacitly shows me his priorities.

    “Funny, Wang got no development rights in Bridgeport if it’s all about real estate”

    Really?! So, we are giving Wang credit for having to accept the trappings of owning his minor-league affiliate? He is still a hockey owner of an NHL team, is he not?

    “Never mind Wang gave LaFontaine a night 11/8/2003 where he requested no gifts…”

    Yes, this event preceded their fallout. Why don’t you tell the non-hockey fans here about that embarrassing debacle?

    “Charles Wang has owned this team since 2000, how come all the former players do nothing but praise him”

    Now, that is just nonsense.

    “Charles Wang has done nothing to alienate the team’s fanbase.”

    This one is a doozy!

    Currently, Wang is circumventing the salary cap floor to spend as little on player salary as is allowed (this may or may not change soon as the CBA is expiring).

    Wang may be the only man in the history of pro sports to hire a player on his ACTIVE roster to become General Manager! This, of course, was only the icing on the cake after he fired a respected, Stanley Cup winning GM after 42 days or so before a single game was played.

    Wang claims to be rebuilding, but has fired and rid the organization of critical hockey operations staff that would normally support the execution of such a rebuild. Hmmm,could it be that is why this rebuild will last forever?! (Or at least until 2015).

    Banning LaFontaine.

    Firing Bryan Trottier (development coach, no less (remember they’re rebuilding) and Billy Jaffe, popular and competent color analyst for speaking his mind honestly, too often.

    And for not disclosing anything to the fans of the team, keeping them (us) in the dark.

    There are many other ways in which he has alienated the fanbase, but of course the most important is he has provided little except for bad hockey on the ice throughout his entire stewardship.

    Wang has openly said to the press that he “regrets buying the team.” If it is such a hardship, and it’s not about the real estate, why not just put the Islanders and their cable contract on the market?

    Wang is running out the clock and little else.

    He is a bad owner.

  57. Um, anybody can put in a link to the Islanders website. Just make a button and point it at islanders.nhl.com.

  58. Saying “if Nassau County were a city it would be the 7th largest city” is like saying if Montana
    (population 989,415) were a city it would be bigger than San Francisco (population 805,235). I do not know if Wang is guilty or innocent in that Computer Associates scandal but it happened in 2009 and nothing has happened to him so even if he was guilty he got away with it so get over it.

  59. Jon W- Using early 1980’s attendance numbers are mostly meaningless. The conditions of those times are no longer likely to be repeated. The Islanders had one of the greatest teams in hockey history in the early 80’s and the Devils didn’t arive until 82. If Phoenix won 4 straight cups they would even draw but the problem is it is not normal to do that.

    If the Islanders have all these great fans like you claim then the private sector or Wang himself can fund the new arena or at least most of it.

    Mike- Great posts!!!!!

    nyifc- I’m not for public arena funding for anyone. In Canada or New York. Using the arguement that other teams got public funding is a terrible argument. Two(or more) wrongs don’t make a right.

    As far as your Chicago/Dallas/Boston comparison yes those teams had some down years attendance wise. I agree everyone does. But it’s one thing to have a few bad years. It’s another thing to go at least 0 for your last 22 in attendance and drop to Phoenix Coyotes levels of gate revenue and then demand a tax payer arena and expect everything will be magically ok. What happens if this arena is built and the fans are still no shows? Nassau County is broke. The last thing on this earth they need is a new arena for a very questionable franchise in terms of support. Either move to Barclays, sell to the Barclays people, stay in your broken down arena or move.

  60. Neil,

    I’m definitely not above admitting that web design is no where near the sphere of my competence, and am also not above admitting that my own personal frustration with ownership and the way the hockey team has been run has been so frustrating, as to preclude that it could cloud my judgment.

    However, I must make the observation that the Islanders seem to have a lot of ostensible fans on the internet, whom haven’t overtly been treated particularly well from any standpoint, that always seem to be unusually at the ready to thoroughly defend ownership.

    Take that for what it’s worth – I won’t mention it again.

    Mark,

    I understand your point – I do, but if you look at the years which the Islanders actually had an excellent regular season (which has only been one time since 1989, and that’s 2002); you see a spike in their attendance, especially as it relates to arena capacity (fans cannot buy ‘affordable’ tickets that don’t exist).

    I would say in the early 80’s, the Islanders could have sold out Shea Stadium’s 55,000 seats on a handful of occasions, handily – so I won’t use that as a comparison, if you wish.

    However, I must point out that you draw a false correlation between the NJ Devils entering the market and adverse effect on Islanders’ ticket sales or corporate sales. The two franchises may only be 40-50 miles apart, but if you live on Long Island (and I’m talking Hicksville, East Meadow, Levittown – central Nassau for sake of argument) and wanted to drive to a Devils game, getting there in rush hour is going to take you 2 to 3 hours one way.

    Forget it – not going to happen. The fanbases only cross-pollinate when the geography is usurped by a chronic garbage product.

  61. Jon- I agree with you that attendance would go up if they started winning a bit. But not enough. Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t the capacity 16,250 for 2002? Yet the Islanders didn’t even make it over 15,000 people.

    I know about the long drive from Nassau to Newark. But don’t a good amount of people from long Island work in Manhattan? They could take the Penn Station train under the Garden to the Prudential Center. It is only 17 minutes via mass transit between the 2. Now I’m not sure how long it would take to get back to Manhattan after the game and then back to Nassau County I’m not from New York. But at the worst fans could go to Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon games. That’s 3 days a week of help for a weak franchise that badly needs it.

    I was reading post on the Islanders section of HF boards and fans were talking about what they would do if the Devils left. Most were going to become Devils fans. Now I admit this is a small sample size.

    I do understand your frustration. Your a fan and I’d feel the same way if my team left. I still wouldn’t give up hope. Barclays can work and should work if you have fans like you say you do and I’m wrong. But HELL NO to a new arena. Too risky and not worth it. Maybe being remarketed as the Brooklyn Islanders would make the team more popular. Supposedly Brooklyn people are very loyal when it comes to their borrough(at least thats what I read on the Net). Convert a few Ranger fans into Islander fans and you may be in business.

  62. Almost forgot this. A new article from today says the Devils are going to lose 20 Million this year(and this may be a cup winning season) and Vanderbeek the owner has 80 Million in debts that may come due July 1 and he can’t find a viable business partner.

    This is why I’m so against an Islanders arena. I’m almost certain the same thing will happen to the Islanders.

  63. link

    www.thestar.com/sports/leafs/article/1181103–cox-new-jersey-devils-skate-blithely-through-red-ink

  64. Mark,

    I feel as if we’re beating a dead horse here, but if you checked 2003’s figures for the Isles, they did indeed average literally just under 15,000 for the year, and that’s without the strength of having another good year to solidify the seasons and sell more walk-ups, which they would’ve done, if they had another year like 2002 instead of going .500.

    I am starting to feel like you have some confirmation bias about this issue. Are you a Devils fan? YOU’RE (not your – sorry, that’s a big pet peeve of mine) obviously a fan of some team since you seem stuck on solely this aspect of this issue and go on HF Boards.

    I would mind it less, if you said flat-out that you don’t agree with rich billionaires sucking off of the government teet for their own private facilities. I’ve got no moral objection or logical defense for that argument; however, I have a big objection to “NJ can’t support a team with a new arena, so neither can Long Island.”

    That’s pure conjecture (and a crappy one at that), and I know, anecdotally, from when the Islanders were really good, if things were equal on the ice, the Islanders could support a team better than the Devils’ fan base supports theirs’.

    And apparently, you don’t really understand my frustration because you are not an Islanders’ fan, which is fine. Please just cut out the condescending/false compassion statements, and we’ll both live our lives with or without our crappy teams.

  65. YOU’RE right we are beating a dead horse. We will have to have agree to disagree.

    Nope I’m not a Devils fan. I’m a Blackhawks fan but I have been following this issue along with the Phoenix Coyotes disaster. What got me started on worrying about the Islanders is when they leaked the gate revenues for 2010-11 season. When I saw the Islanders finished below the Coyotes is when I became convinced it isn’t worth it to build the Islanders a new arena. Not that any arena is worth it.

    I’m not at all biased. I just don’t 3 teams works in any city for the 4th most popular sport. New York is a Rangers town. Devils and Isles are afterthoughts. 80’s can’t be used as comparison because 4 cups in a row isn’t likely to happen to anyone ever again. To be honest I wish the Devils would have left and the Prudential Center was never built. What a horrible disaster. I also wish and still do the Islanders would at least move to Barclays so another 500M in public money isn’t wasted. And I have said I’m against billionares getting handouts.

    It isn’t conjecture that winning and a new arena won’t help the Islanders. It is a very real possibility. We were told the Prudential Center and winning was going to help the Devils. OOPS.

    Your too close to this issue. No fan anywhere in any sport will admit his team doesn’t have support and the team should move. Heck if the Blackhawks drew 3,000 people a year for the next 100 years I’d argue the team is still popular because just like you I’m a fan.

    If you have all the fans that you say you do move to Barclays, sell out the boxes(lord knows New York has a gazillion corporations) , jack up the price of the 14,500 tickets sky high like Winnipeg to make up for the “missing” seats and you will be fine and I’ll be more than happy to admit that I’m wrong if it works. I really do hope I’m wrong and it works. Moving a team with 4 cups would suck. I’d much rather see the sun belt losers like Phoenix, Florida and Carolina move than the Islanders.

    No hard feeling:) Thanks for the conversation.

  66. The only thing I defend is the truth.

    Charles Wang has spent his money time and again from Yashin to Tavares, he’s agreed to any kind of arena plan with and without development rights.

    Wang (with Rechler) was the only one forced to run around and sell the Lighthouse, he was the only one forced to do a referendum then go out and fight for it.

    Every other NY/NJ team got huge taxpayer money in the backroom. Wang got nothing and like many owners could have come in, not gotten what he wanted (like Milstein) and closed the checkbook in 2000.

    Instead he raised the payroll to 45m before there even was a floor.

    Wang is the only one renovating his landlords building.

    It’s not a question of defending Wang, it’s defending what’s happened.

  67. Mark, calling New York a Ranger town is absurd, if they contracted tomorrow few would care.

    Is it a New York Red Bull town too?

    It’s a baseball, football and basketball market, that does not give hockey any attention. The Rangers were in first place wire to wire and got zero backpages while Dolan got his 11m in tax exemptions.

    Most nights Msg is not filled. (Dolan propaganda notwithstanding)

    Almost comical seeing outlets that owe Dolan money for ad dollars that has not covered hockey here for more than a decade pretend to dust off 15 year old cue cards on what hockey is about here. You can almost hear the editors, any old Ranger fans want to write anything?

    Good thing the Knicks did not advance and soon the Yankee-Met-Red Sox rivalry will take over the town.

    That’s New York. Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, that’s where the hockey is a big story.

    When the New York Islanders owned New York they got regular season backpages without the Rangers.

    Whether a team draws 13, 14, 15, 16, 18,000 it’s not a big deal. Considering Dolan hides the Isles every chance he can and the team has not won 13+ is a good number and a lot closer to Dolan’s 14-15k per game without padded sellouts.

    As for Jon, don’t believe one word from Botta or the filler he provides to his Ranger media friends for selective hit-jobs on Wang/Snow, he did not get the nick name Baghdad for nothing long ago. He took the Isles money after resigning, no one forced him to.

  68. Mark,

    I never said you were “biased” (although as humans, we all have inherent biases, regardless of how objective we try to look at something), I said that I had sensed, and still do sense, your ‘confirmation bias’ on the issue we discussed (I’m not going to explain what that is, it’s no my role), which you basically confirmed by refusing to consider that although Newark and Long Island are on opposite ends of the same 50 mile NY metro radius, their “markets” and situations are actually totally different (demographically, fiscally, distribution of population, etc.).

    That’s not why I’m replying, though. You said to me, “Your (you’re – it’s not your – I don’t own a “close to this issue”. Please write in English) too close to this issue. No fan anywhere in any sport will admit his team doesn’t have support and the team should move. Heck if the Blackhawks drew 3,000 people a year for the next 100 years I’d argue the team is still popular because just like you I’m a fan.”

    What bothers me is not your argument, it is your condescension and superimposing of YOUR own self-deception and lack of scruples onto others including myself. Stop doing that. It’s not right.

    You don’t know another’s moral compass and level of maturity, so please stop projecting YOUR own faults onto others. Thank you.

  69. Yellow card to Jon W. for assigning “self-deception and lack of scruples” to Mark, and a warning to both teams: It’s fine to criticize each other’s arguments till the cows come home, but when it turns into casting aspersions on individuals and their motivations, that’s against the rules here.

    Next violator gets one day in the penalty box. (Sorry for mixing my soccer and hockey metaphors there, but I don’t know where soccer players go when they’ve been red-carded. The arc of disgrace, probably.)

  70. For those who want a clarification on Chicago Black Hawk huge financial losses direct from Wirtz right after winning the cup.

    Wirtz first revealed that the team was not profitable in private. “It’s going to take four (or) five years before we can actually get back in the black,” Wirtz said at an April 19 forum at the Economic Club of Chicago, according to a transcript. “And right now we’re still supporting the Blackhawks with our other Wirtz organizations.”

    In a follow-up interview this week, Wirtz said that the Blackhawks ran out of cash several times last season. Each time, he received a memo, known as an internal capital call, in which the team requested money from Wirtz Corp., the Blackhawks’ parent company, to cover operating expenses. And at the end of the season, Wirtz said he double-checked that the playoffs did not cover those losses; the franchise remained in the red, the team’s accountant told him.

    articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-07-30/business/ct-biz-0730-confidential-hawks-20100730_1_rocky-wirtz-wirtz-corp-bill-wirtz

    Rocky’s father, Bill Wirtz, ran the team from 1966 until his death in 2007. Earlier in 2007, Bill Wirtz told the Toronto Star that he had lost $191 million on the team in the last 10 years, including $31 million in the 2006-07 season.

  71. Neil,

    It’s your candy store.

    However, I am simply defending myself, as the guy whom to which I was responding, made a judgement of me, first; which he then veiled and justified by saying anyone would act as such including himself.

    In other words, he would act in a certain manner, so everyone else including me would act the same way. That’s not right. Sorry, if I am gruff and blunt about these things, but I would prefer people not shove unmerited, negative characteristics onto me and make gratuitous assumptions about how I’m to act. That’s not casting aspersions.

    I play this match under protest.

  72. Not trying to single anyone out. The vitriol level has just been a slow rise, and I sensed it starting to cross a line.

    I trust that everyone here can defend themselves without resorting to personal attacks, and that’s what I hope to see.

    Meanwhile, back to the discussion: Given Paul Beeston’s famous remark that “I can turn a $2 million profit into a $4 million loss and get any accountant to agree with me,” I think we have to take any claims of huge losses by teams with a grain of salt. That said, looking at the Forbes figures (which are supposed to be dispassionate, if not 100% precise), are *any* hockey teams doing well? It looks like the entire league has pretty much been in an economic slump the last few years.

  73. Mr deMause,

    Forbes is not a credible source of hockey financial information which was completely dismissed by the league during the last lockout.

    Michael Ozanian’s speculation/guesswork has no access any NHL teams financial records. In short, Forbes needs page views and customers so Ozanian selling himself talking NHL revenue speculation helps Forbes he will gladly do so.

    100 percent worthless.

    As to your question outside of Toronto most NHL teams lose huge amounts of money starting with the Rangers going into the last lockout as documented by the Post, Daily News, Washington Times and Arthur Levitt at 25-40m per year.

    Bottom line, revenue is NOT profit.

    Spending 100 million to make 80mil in revenue means you lost 20m which is how this capped league has operated as the ceiling approaches 70m.

  74. nyifc- No one cares about the Rangers? They are 22 for last 22 seasons in attendance. But you say the attendance is padded? According to the leaked data for gate revenue in 2010-11 the Rangers were 4th in the league in gate at 65.6 Million. The Islanders were 29th at 16 million bucks. So it does matter if you draw 13,000 or 18,000 fans. The Blackhawks were at 45.1 Million by the way.

    Here is the leaked data
    worthwhile.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451688169e20162fee70631970d-pi

    and the write up
    www.mc79hockey.com/?p=4102

    I don’t trust any owner that says they lost money. I’d go with forbes anyday. Remember when the Florida Marlins said they lost a ton of money and needed a new stadium yet forbes said they made a profit and forbes was proven right?(Neil had a bunch of stuff on this way back) According to leaked data forbes also accurately predited the profits the Pittsburgh Pirates made a few years ago.

    Jon W- Calm down. We are not curing cancer here. This is just sports. It’s not important. Being a fan of your team is not a negative charastic and I’m sorry you took it as such. I have considered your arguement and it does have merit. I do consider I may be wrong and if I’m wrong I will admit it. Time will tell. I think we will get a chance someday to see who’s right because I think some how some way the Islanders will stay. It’s just that in my OPINION I think building an arena could possible go very wrong ala Glendale or Newark.

    We both know each others positions and neither one of us is changing our mind. Lets drop this and call it a day. Nothing good can come out of this arguement anymore for either one of us.

  75. Mark,

    Forbes has no access to the books of any NHL team, they should stick to businesses that must report their revenue for SEC purposes, but they need money so they play the sports card.

    I don’t do leaked data via sources upon sources, for the Toronto media to advance the point the league needs Canada, that’s not credible.

    Countless media in New York and Ranger fans have discussed the empty and available seats over many decades at Msg including the President of Msg.

    It’s been padded time and again for both Cablevision teams.

    When this team opened it’s season with it’s renovation and huge price increases there were empty sections per the Ranger beatwriters, yet they still announced a sellout.

    Again, revenue is not profit, it’s spending more to lose more.

    The NY Times reported on the Pirates profits, which I brought up earlier in this discussion.

  76. So basically what your saying is using attendance, forbes, and leaked data is wrong and only your opinion is right and no metric can be used to judge the Islanders or Rangers. LOL I’m sorry but it’s impossible to believe every single source is wrong and you are right. If the teams released their books you’d still deny the Rangers are making $$ and the Islanders aren’t. Forbes may not have access to books but they have a history of being close to accurate on teams revenues. Forbes, attendance and leaked data are the best we will ever get as far as trying to figure out team values and revenues because we never will get to see the books. It’s certainly better than taking the words and quotes of team owners.

    The league does need Canada. That’s no secret and there is no reason for the Toronto Star to lie. What they released wasn’t ground breaking it was common sense what teams are struggling. Hockey isn’t popular in a good chunk the United States. Look at all the teams that are losing money. Atlanta moving to Winnipeg was one of the best things that ever happened in the NHL. In the next 5 years we will see at least 2 more teams move north(probably Phoenix and Florida).

  77. Here is more data for you. This is from the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy trial a few years ago. It’s the amount of tickets given away for each team. The Rangers are near the bottom of giving away tickets.

    www.manitobamythbusters.com/facts_figures/NHLweb_comp_tickets06-07.jpg

  78. Mark,

    I don’t do sources, gossip, leaked information or speculation from business sites needing to sell their business only direct quotes.

    This is the same kind of reporting that told everyone former coach Pat Burns had passed away when he was still alive.

    When the President of Msg says the Rangers sellout only half their games that’s a fact. When countless professional media report on padded number and opposing fans at Msg that’s a fact.

    Why don’t you go to stubhub right now and look at the thousands of seats still available at Msg for the conference finals?

    When I produce quotes from Hawks ownership they are bleeding cash in great detail after winning a cup that is fact.

    The Rangers according to the NY Post, Daily News, Washington Times were sustained losses of 25-40m a year at the Cablevision owned garden before the last lockout because the overhead of running a franchise in New York is too expensive vs other markets in the NHL’s oldest facility.

  79. Watters: And I agree with you — they are whacking away at the wrong syllable — if I could use that term. The one thing that seemed to play into the union’s hands — and you can clarify this Mr. Levitt — Bill Daly was talking on ESPN last week and said that the New York Rangers lose money. … Can you envision the New York Rangers losing money when the building is packed every night?

    Levitt: Yes, they do lose money and I did see those numbers. And we accounted for those numbers — we accounted for revenue that went to television ownership that the club has — there are a number of clubs that own their own television stations and their own arenas.

    Watters: And the Rangers do that, do they not?

    Levitt: Yes. We analyzed those revenues and included them in our overall computation. I’ve asked the leadership of the Players’ Association that if they have questions about the report if they’d want to meet with me and talk about it. They wrote back and indicated that they did not think that that would be productive. And that surprised me.

    Watters: Well, that’s the smoking gun. If you confronted them with the facts then there would be nothing more to talk about. They’d have to get down to business.

    Levitt: There’s a lot to talk about and, in the meantime, players and fans are being deprived of their sport which is terrible.

    Watters: To go back to the Rangers — because I think that your explanation certainly solidified my opinion at least of the validity of what the owners are saying. And I think they are close to being right on as they can be. What about television — the television market in New York. Do the Rangers as a hockey club receive a fair market value for their television rights from MSG Inc. Or were you able to ascertain that?

    Levitt: We were able to account for television revenue received by the Rangers by setting up a template which compared revenue for various clubs in different markets. We were able to account for it and we did account for it.

    Watters: And it was not unreasonable?

    Levitt: No. It was not unreasonable.

    Watters: Because that is where the attack would be made. What about paying rent for Madison Square Garden per se. Was that disproportionately large so that Rangers appear to be losing money when the other people in their lodge don’t pay nearly as much in rent.

    Levitt: No. I don’t think that’s the case. What we did with the Rangers, as well as with every club that owns their arena is to not only take into consideration the fact that the arena isn’t used exclusively by the hockey club but we actually set up a formula that established precisely how much revenue was received and we accounted for that.

  80. This is league propaganda for the lockout. If you believe that well I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Please provide some actual real data if you have any. I’d be happy to see it.

    That source is actual league data released from the bankruptcy hearing. It’s not gossip or made up on the internet. Lot of sites carried it.

    Quotes from ownership? LOL You got to be kidding right? Every owner in every sport always says they are losing $ and need new arenas/handouts. You have to come up with something other than quotes from ownership. Owners are know liars(see Jeff Loria for one#

    The reason Rocky Wirtz says the Hawks are losing money is

    1.He wants a handout from the state to build a new Lambeau Field like atrium connected to the United Center. The cost if I’m not mistaken is 75 Million dollars.

    2. the lockout is coming and the owners want more $ from the players in the next deal so of course they are going to say they are losing $ not that some teams aren’t#sun belt teams).

    Before every lockout/strike in any sport they claim all the teams are losing money. It’s like clockwork. But if it is true that the Rangers of all teams in the heart of Manhattan with a winning team, located on top the busiest subway/train station in the world and given most of the news paper coverage as you claim were losing money this would be by far the greatest argument to not build the Islanders a new arena and just letting them go. If the Rangers can’t make it with all that going for them and the Devils are losing 20 million what’s going to make it different for the Islanders of all teams playing in suburbia with a lack of mass transit much further from the New York population base and not winning unlike the Rangers? If I was an Islander backer this is the last argument I’d make because if this was true then 3 teams for New York is oversaturation theory is correct.

    One other point. It’s not fair to call the Garden the “oldest faciltiy in the league”. It’s undergoing a 850M renovation. All that will be left is the outer shell. To quote Hank Ratner they are building a new arena within the old shell. Once the renovation is complete the Rangers will be even richer than they already are.

  81. www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20100207/SUB/302079981

    It might surprise anyone who has forked over big cash to attend a game or concert at the Garden, but MSG barely makes any money: It generated a slim $1 million in operating profits through the first nine months of last year on $650 million in revenue. The sports division posted a $32 million operating loss, while the entertainment division, which includes Radio City Music Hall, reported a $53 million operating loss.
    ***************************
    www.nypost.com/business/28740.htm

    CABLEVISION CUTS ITS LOSSES
    By PAUL THARP

    September 17, 2004 — The owners of the perennially money-losing Rangers hockey team are going to plug up a big red-ink hole with the National Hockey League shutdown of the season.

    The Rangers haven’t made the playoffs in seven years or any profits in years.

    In fact, the team loses between $25 million and
    $30 million a year with its highly paid players and steep overhead in Madison Square Garden arena.

  82. www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/sep/10/20040910-124222-3766r/

    But union officials say more than two-thirds of a listed $224million loss for the 2003-04 season was because of six teams and about a third arose from just New York-area teams. Saskin declined to identify those teams, but both the Rangers and Islanders have sustained heavy losses in recent years.

    “You shouldn’t hide behind a leaguewide loss figure if most of the problems are centered on six or seven unique situations,” Saskin said.
    **************
    www.nydailynews.com/sports/hockey/story/232240p-199467c.html

    Canada wins, worries

    How far apart? The Daily News has learned that the Rangers were among the teams to have claimed to have lost the most money last season approximately $40 million. The Players Association finds that claim
    incredulous.
    *************************
    www.nypost.com/business/28739.htm

    ICE AGE COMETH
    September 17, 2004 –

    “In a way, it’s a relief for the owners in the lockout,” said one financial adviser to the sport. “Only a half-dozen of the teams are
    really breaking even or showing any kind of profit.”

    New York’s home team, the Rangers, is one of the league’s biggest losers, with red-ink estimated at between $25 million and $30 million
    a year.

  83. A couple problems with your articles. It was prelockout so as usual the owners are claiming money losses. Name 1 time owners before a strike/lockout said they were making money in any sport? Second of all that’s very old data and if forbes isn’t reliable what makes crains,the post or Washington times reliable? You don’t get to pick and choose your data that suits your needs. If forbes doesn’t have access to the books neither does crains so all we are doing is guessing without the real books. They very well could have had a writer sympathetic to the owners and willing to write a puff piece on owner losses to build public support for the owners during the lockout. Not uncommon. If crains/the post/times does have it right that’s still old data. The NHL CBA after the lockout was more team friendly(hard cap#. So even if that was true at the time that the Rangers lost $ it isn’t anymore. Another factor to be considered as I said is the Garden renovation. 2004 was pre renovation. The Garden at that time was considered a stone age arena. Now they moved the boxes closer to the floor and added the expensive seats,clubs etc.

    A couple question for you

    1. Lets say you are right the Rangers still lose money and attendance is padded. What makes you think it will go any better for the Islanders? If the Rangers of all teams can’t make it work, the Devils lose 20M a year what makes you think the Islanders can make it work? Aren’t you actually arguing my point that I think New York is oversaturated? If the Rangers can’t make it that is the greatest argument of all to move one of the 3 teams to Canada or Seattle.

    2.If MSG is such a money loser or only making 1 million for 9 months in total profits how can they afford an 850 Million dollar renovation? Doesn’t make sense.

    3. If the team loses 25-30 Million a year why would the Garden bother owning them? Why not throw the keys on the table #like Atlanta did) and book concerts etc. instead?
    25-30 million of losses is Coyote territory almost. No one would touch that team with a 10 foot pole without an illegal “arena management” fee.

    4. Where do you see the Islanders ending up when this is all over? New arena? Renovation? Relocation? Barclays?

  84. As I wrote earlier I expect the New York Islanders to remain at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum or in a new facility with the revenue split agreed to last summer.

    Just a question of the financing of a new or renovated building.

    You don’t wish to believe most NHL teams lose money and spending more to lose more whether it be at Cablevision, Chicago, Little Ceasar’s Red Wings or the Comcast Flyers is not an effective business model.

    I gave you a four page article with Wirtz junior right after winning the cup going into great details about how much the Hawks lost even and how they had to borrow from their other corporate businesses with no lockout coming.

    You are not interested.

    Why would it work for the Islanders but not the Rangers? One team does not throw massive front-loaded contracts around. One team spends 100m to get back 80m in revenue but all people discuss is revenue.

    As for Msg explain why in 1981 they had to get a permanent 11m dollar exemption (a ton of money back then) or they were moving to go with low cost electricity and why they have been sold many times?

    Why did Dolan refuse to give it back if they are so profitable?

    Explain why Charles Dolan wanted to purchase the New York Islanders before purchasing Msg?

    Who says it will go better for any team unless they are smart financially with contracts and find a way to be successful? Wang and many owners have said owning a sports team is a question of how much money you want to lose and a trophy purchase.

    Msg financed their renovation by increasing the price of Knicks (the signature Msg team) tickets forty nine percent, JP Morgan Chase gave them 300m in naming rights and calling the second major renovation since 1990, bottom line the building is still a dump with seats a mile away from the ice.

    Oh and Cablevision gives Msg money. 140 million in 2010 to cover losses.

  85. Sorry but I don’t believe the words of any owner. They have a history of lying. I do believe half the teams in the league lose at least some money. But other than the Devils/Islanders and sun belts the loses aren’t big. You really belive the Rangers lose close to a sun belt team? LOL Why wouldn’t Dolan throw they keys on the table with loses like that? Like I said that is Coyote type losses almost. Why not just book more concerts? I find it funny you say the Blackhawks,Flyiers, Red Wings and Rangers business model is wrong yet praise Wangs business model. Yes it’s much better to be a complete loser for 20+ years and run off just about all the fans you have and become a complete afterthought with subpar crowds than spend some money and win. Gosh why didn’t everyone think of that? The vast majority of your fan base hates Wang.

    The reason Dolan wanted the Islanders 1st in the 1980s is because New York was a crime hole. At the time it was better to be in suburbia. That’s why he asked for the tax break or else he was going to suburbia himself with the Rangers and Knicks. Now days the model has changed. Teams want to be in the downtown population core near all the corporations/high rollers so they can get 300M JP Morgan type sponsorships. See the Golden State Warriors downtown San Francisco announcement today. It’s not the 1980s anymore.

    Are you kidding give back a 11 million dollar tax break? No owner would ever do that even if they were profitable. Lets be real.

    You’re leaving something else out on the Knicks raising ticket prices. Yes they raised prices but the Rangers raised ticket prices 23% last season(not Knick like but thats a lot) and are raising ticket prices too for next season

    How could they do this since no one cares for the Rangers? Why didn’t you mention this?:)

    The problem with the revenue split from last summer is the county is going to be left holding the bag. Revenue projects won’t come close to what Wang and arena backers say they will. The new arena won’t draw enough concerts due to 3 other arenas in the area or fans for Islander games and the county is going to be screwed. With a team getting 12,000 to 14,000 fans and with gate revenue of only 16 Million for 2010-11 the last thing the county should rely on a revenue split. Wang should be forced to put his money up front if he wants a new arena or find sponsorship to pay for it. If Nassau County approved a new arena for such an unpopular team with a crap owner then they deserve to be broke or should I say more broke than they already are.

  86. Neil,

    I want to post again, singled out or otherwise, because I feel as if you are the one person (perhaps after Dave Zirin) who would be a good whistle-blower for Charles Wang.

    I think you need to seriously reconsider that Wang, with the “helping hand” of one former Senator and Nassau County Executive, Alphonse D’Amato, purchased the team with the ulterior and primary motive of acquiring 77 acres of the most valuable land per acre in the United States.

    You said earlier that you could not understand why Wang was so fixated on Hempstead; however, you must remember that the Town of Hempstead actually contains many municipalities (Hamlets and Incorporated Villages) within it. MANY of these are VERY, VERY (yes, I’m using the double superlative for this point) wealthy.
    Uniondale is among one of the Hamlets within the Town of Hempstead.

    I have family that lives in the Town of Hempstead. One family member living there owns a house on a 100 feet by 38 feet piece of land. That’s 100′ x 38′. His property was recently assessed by the town at almost $500,000 (which is bogusly inflated, but you get the idea). This person pays about $9,900 a year in property tax for that land (the school tax gets ya, but it’s insane, regardless).

    My point is 77 acres of undeveloped land in this area is ridiculously valuable, and Wang already had his sights set on real estate from almost immediately after leaving CA. The rights to property are highly contested and political because the stakes are so high.

    Although, when he was looking for a $300 million G.O.Muni deal from Nassau, he reported that he was “moving onward” from the Lighthouse Hub project, where he was going to construct a mini-city, granted with his own dime, but leaving the TOH’s taxpayers to pick up the dime on infrastructure; I do not believe he has ever let go of that original hope that he will have the land at the end of all this, Islanders be damned.

    This is why the Islanders LLC. desperately need a public advocate on their board of directors, and why Wang’s actions need a much more detailed, scrupulous look.

  87. Saying that “if Nassau County were a city it would be the 7th largest” is like saying if Montana were a city it would be almost as big as San Francisco. John W. makes a smart point here by bringing up the value of the land. If Wang could sell the Islanders for $200 million to Quebecor he could then use that money on redevelopment projects in Hempstead.

  88. Jon,

    You keep re-writing history to suit your personal bias and should know developer Milstein put up with a few months of Nassau before putting the team in mothballs. Wang bought the Isles with Kumar who said at that press conference we are not real estate developers, over the next four years Nassau had no answers to renovating the building and then Wang brought in developer Rechler who was the billionaire developer.

    When that collapsed what did Wang agree to last summer? A 30 year lease with no development rights.

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to create your own history. Wang turned down a public bond in 2001, he was told by Suozzi Nassau was broke and could do nothing with the Coliseum and during that time Wang was interested in the Nets and brought in the Dragons which someone only interested in real-estate does not do.

    Only it contradicts what’s he’s done in Bridgeport where he has no development rights to anything or ever asked for any.

  89. I’ll have to quote from Proverbs 14:7 –

    Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

  90. Finally,

    Don’t pay any mind to this guy from this website. He is one of Chuck Wang’s many mouthpieces sprawling the Google searches for his name, and attempting to clear it.

    It doesn’t matter how much rope you give Wang though, eventually he will hang everyone with it.

    It’s funny how NYIFC mentioned Sanjay Kumar since he’s in jail. Same goes for Stephen Richards. And H’uai’s suicide is more than a bit suspicious.

    At some point, doesn’t someone who’s proven unreliable and untrustworthy to report his earnings lose credibility, regardless of whether falsely inflating or falsely deflating the cash flow of an institution?

    I have not rewritten anything. It is this website that has distorted history to fit its’ views, which is Charles Wang is the greatest.

    Ask the SEC just how great Wang is.

  91. Finally,

    Don’t pay any mind to this guy from this website. He is one of Chuck Wang’s many mouthpieces sprawling the Google searches for his name, and attempting to clear it.

    It doesn’t matter how much rope you give Wang though, eventually he will hang everyone with it.

    It’s funny how NYIFC mentioned Sanjay Kumar since he’s in jail. Same goes for Stephen Richards. And H’uai’s suicide is more than a bit suspicious.

    At some point, doesn’t someone who’s proven unreliable and untrustworthy to report his earnings lose credibility, regardless of whether falsely inflating or falsely deflating the cash flow of an institution?

    I have not rewritten anything. It is this website that has distorted history to fit its’ views, which is Charles Wang is the greatest.

    Ask the SEC just how great Wang is.

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