Report: Barclays Center Preparing To Boot Islanders

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The marriage between the New York Islanders and Barclays Center could soon be coming to an end.

According to a report by Bloomberg on Monday, officials with the Brooklyn arena are preparing to dump the NHL team after concluding the venue would be better off financially hosting Nets games and concerts.

The Islanders are currently third-worst in  NHL attendance, averaging 12,828 fans per game. That’s down from 13,626 last season — their first at Barclays — and down from 15,334 — their last year at Nassau Coliseum.

The team and the arena have a 25-year lease, but the Barclays Center could get out of the deal after the 2018-19 season. If the Islanders terminated the lease, they could leave after next season. The Islanders and Barclays have an unusual agreement in which the arena pays the team $53.5 million a year in exchange for business operations, which includes tickets and suite sales.

Neither Barclays Center nor a spokesman for Islanders owners Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky would comment to Bloomberg.

The Isles moved into Barclays last season, but they struggled to attract new fans in Brooklyn while their existing supporters complained about obstructed-view seats and the loss of some traditions from the team’s decades on Long Island. Some players also have complained about the quality of the ice.

With a seating capacity of 15,700 for hockey, the Barclays Center is considered small by NHL standards.

Former majority owner Charles Wang moved the team after voters in 2011 rejected a referendum that would have used taxpayer money to build a new arena on Long Island.

Malkin and Ledecky purchased the franchise for $485 million in 2014 and took control July 1, 2016.

Reports that the Isles, too, are unhappy with the arrangement at the Barclays Center began to surface nearly a year ago — and just months after the franchise moved into its new facility.

The team has reportedly discussed building a new arena, either near Belmont Park in Elmont or near Citi Field in Queens.

Nassau Coliseum is undergoing a $260 million renovation, but its seating capacity is being cut to 13,000, making it too small for the NHL.

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