NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Skepticism generally dominates the landscape when it comes to the Islanders. But, if the latest report is true, it has to be viewed as a positive by fans and a potential new owner.
The cash-strapped franchise is set to leave Nassau Coliseum for Barclays Center following the 2014-15 season. Owner Charles Wang responded to a TSN story from last week that said he was in talks with a potential buyer, by saying he’s open to the idea of selling the team, but added nothing is imminent.
The NY Post sort of disagrees.
The newspaper said Wang is in talks with Philadelphia attorney Andrew Barroway to sell the team for $225 million, plus another $75 million if the Islanders hit certain revenue targets.
And if you are wondering how this is possible considering the Islanders were recently valued at $195 million by Forbes and have lost millions of dollars every season Wang has been the principle owner, dating to 2004, well, it’s because Barclays Center is ready to pony up big cash — guaranteed, the newspaper reported.
Back in 2012 the Islanders signed a 25-year supposedly iron-clad lease with Barclays Center, leaving behind Nassau County, where they have called home since 1972. Barclays Center was not built to accommodate the NHL as we know it, but is being retrofitted to hold 15,813 spectators, which would be less than the coliseum and would make it the second smallest arena in the league.
There have been a lot of rumblings that the Isles will have a hard time filling Barclays Center because the team hasn’t been very good in years and because a large percentage of its fans on Long Island feel alienated by the move in the first place and may not commute further than they are used to.
Nevertheless, there’s an item in the Barclays Center agreement that could entice a potential new owner by guaranteeing the Islanders about $50 million in annual revenue for regular season games, the Post reported. Barclays Center, which is owned by developer Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Ratner and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, would keep anything it collects in sponsorship, suite and ticket sales over that amount. Further adding to the Islanders’ potential windfall is the fact that they would not pay rent during the regular season, the newspaper added.
All of that would be a dramatic reversal from what the Islanders are used to considering their lease with SMG has played a role in the team losing money for years, and has contributed directly to Wang seemingly cost-cutting for most of his tenure as owner.
Barroway reportedly was interested in buying both the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils in recent years.
Neither the Islanders nor representatives from Barclays Center commented on the Post report.
The Islanders are currently 29-35-10 and in last place in the Metropolitan Division.
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