Although the New York Islanders are required to continue playing at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island until their lease runs out in 2015, there have been many reports that the Barclays Center in Brooklyn is their top destination once the time comes. When Nets CEO Brett Yormark was asked about the proposition of the Islanders coming to Brooklyn, he said that there is a “better than 50% chance” that the Islanders would make the move. Yormark is of course trying to be a salesman, and sponsors of the Barclays Center would love another full-time resident who would be able to sell out the building 40-50 times a year, so I am not all that surprised that he made these comments.
The Islanders’ current home, Nassau Coliseum, is one of the oldest arenas in the NHL and 2015 will be its 43rd year hosting the Islanders. It also hosted the New York Nets for five years between 1972 and 1977. The arena is already out of date, and it will be even more so in 3 years. It doesn’t seem likely that the Islanders can continue playing there, so they will need another option. One option would be to leave the New York City area all together. There have been rumors of the team moving to Quebec City or Kansas City, but I believe the team would rather stay in New York because of the money and TV advantages. A plan to build a new arena in Long Island was shot down last year, and I don’t think the Islanders would be able to build a new arena anywhere else in the area, so Barclays does seem like their best, if not only, option.
So what does this mean for the Nets? The way I think about it, it can only be a good thing. In the past at the Prudential Center, and even at the Izod Center at times, the Nets felt like second-class citizens at their own home. The Devils were the main attraction and the Devils had more fans. Players even complained that the sightlines at the Prudential Center were more meant for hockey and were bad for basketball. However, if the hockey team came to the Nets’ arena, and not the other way around, it would be great. If there are any problems with the hockey setup, it will be the Islanders’ problem and not the Nets’. It will also be great for New York City sports as a whole. It would create a great rivalry between Manhattan and Brooklyn and between Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center. Both Knicks-Nets and Rangers-Islanders games would be exciting and have a playoff feel. I would be for the Islanders coming to play at the Barclays Center.
Do you want the New York Islanders to move to Brooklyn?