As expected, every news outlet in New York has reports out today on the Islanders‘ announcement of a 2015 move to Brooklyn, which given that it’s New York means an awful lot of coverage. Some of the more interesting tidbits:
- The Daily News reports that while lease details weren’t disclosed, “the monthly rent is expected to be more than the $14 million a year the Islanders were willing to pay for a new Long Island home.” If so, that’d be a mild coup for the Barclays Center — $14 million a year comes to $350,000 per game, which should be enough to make up for any loss of concerts — though the more interesting question is how and whether the Islanders will share in proceeds from such things as concessions and sale of luxury suites, which currently all go to the arena owners. [UPDATE: As Norman Oder notes below, the New York Post projects the rent as $6 million a year, which is, obviously, a lot less.]
- Barclays Center “might just be an awful place to watch a hockey game,” writes SBNation’s Travis Hughes, noting that the overhead scoreboard will be off-center and some sections will have obscured views. There are two Russian hockey league games scheduled for January 19 and 20 — you can bet that plenty of people will turn out for those just to see how things will look for the Isles starting in 2015.
- Islanders fans aren’t all that upset, at least not those who were at a basketball game at the time.
- Okay, some Islanders fans are a little bit upset.
- Forbes contributor (read: unpaid blogger) Teresa Genaro asks: “Teams move all the time, leaving behind a devastated fan base and going to new markets that welcome their arrival…but has there ever been a team that has so brazenly stepped into one of its rival’s markets?” Um, the Nets?
- The Islanders will be keeping their old logo, but they might want to add back in Brooklyn and Queens to their map of Long Island.
Meanwhile, one topic that I didn’t get to talk much about in yesterday’s coverage is what this will likely mean for the environs of both the Islanders’ new arena and their old one. Mayor Bloomberg’s Economic Development Corporation has estimated that the arrival of the Islanders deal could generate $175 million in annual economic activity, but as Atlantic Yards Report rightly notes, that’s economic activity (i.e., all money changing hands in the arena), not city tax revenues.
The actual impact on Brooklyn is likely to depend on how many current Islander fans take the LIRR into Brooklyn to see games (or more likely, take the subway there after work and then take the LIRR home), since that’s the only way to get actual new money — money spent by city residents will largely be cannibalized from other spending within the city. Ironically, the more “Brooklyn” the team becomes, the less it could benefit Brooklyn.
As for the impact on Uniondale, Long Island, it’s tough to say: While this isn’t necessarily the death knell for the Nassau Coliseum, it’s going to be really tough for the building to survive — less because of the Islanders leaving than because the New York area is now suffering from a major arena glut, and Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center are the clear front-runners for luring acts. (Newark’s Prudential Center would be third.) Even if the Coliseum were to shut down, though, it probably wouldn’t have a huge impact on Nassau County — most attendees almost certainly come from within Long Island, and in any case it’s not like there’s anywhere to spend money around the arena.
One potential bright note for Brooklyn: Adding an extra 40 dates a year to the 200-plus that are already booked does increase the chances that the Barclays Center could be one of the rare arenas that promotes nearby development: While it’d be crazy to open a business across the street from a building that’s dark most of the year, once it’s operating two out of every three nights, that might be a customer base you can actually start to rely on, at least if you’re in the business of selling things that people want to eat or drink before or after a sporting event. Or, perhaps, pay toilets.