Like most strangers who become roommates in Brooklyn, the Islanders and Nets may not live under the same roof for the whole lease.
The Islanders moved into Barclays Center to open the 2015-16 season under fire for numerous issues: the obstructed seats, increased ticket prices, and a sense that the loss of Long Island traditions. Now, according to the New York Post, the Islanders and Barclays Center are looking at escape clauses in the team’s 25-year lease to get them out early.
Per the Post:
The lease includes a little-known out clause that kicks in after the fourth season that both sides could take advantage of, sources said.
“I don’t think either side ever believed the full lease would be honored,” said a source briefed on the matter. “I just didn’t think we’d be talking about this the first year in.”
The report adds that Jonathan Ledecky, the head of the investment group that will take over the Islanders on July 1, would like to move the Islanders back to Long Island or to Queens. Either way would require a new arena, as the renovated Nassau Coliseum would be too small to fit NHL hockey.
The Islanders are 31-19-7 and third in the Metropolitan Division in the NHL’s Eastern Conference, but rank third-to-last among NHL teams in attendance, partially because Barclays Center has fewer seats for hockey than most teams, and partially because of the obstructed seats — 19 sections have an obstructed view of one of the team’s goals.
However, SB Nation’s Lighthouse Hockey disputes that there’s anything substantial to the story: “My analysis: the Islanders didn’t make a dime in 43 years in Nassau County. Now they make $50 million a year. Barclays needs dates to fill no matter how much “crap” they take on social media. And we know better than to expect anyone to bend over backwards to build the Islanders an arena anywhere in New York.”