SBD/July 8, 2013/Franchises

Wang Laying Groundwork For Islanders' Brooklyn Move, Has No Plans To Sell The Team

Islanders Owner Charles Wang "remained unapologetic" about the team's move to the Barclays Center in '15 and indicated that he "expected fans would travel to see the team in Brooklyn and that the new location would draw a fresh crop of supporters," according to Kreda & Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. Wang said, "We’re not moving away from our roots because Brooklyn really is part of Long Island. The Islanders will be just a train ride away for our fans." Kreda & Belson note early indications are that a "core group of fans will ride the train to Brooklyn to see their team." Fifty-eight percent of season-ticket holders "have indicated they plan to see the Islanders play in Brooklyn, and the Islanders have sold 2,200 new season-ticket plans since they were eliminated from the playoffs in May." The Islanders have "two years left on their lease in Uniondale, but Wang has in some ways already started to move the team." Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark "now oversees ticket sales, suite sales and marketing for the Islanders." It is "unusual for a team to cede control of these core operations, but the Islanders should benefit from the experience the Nets gained when they left New Jersey for Brooklyn before last season." Yormark said that he and Wang "planned to keep Islanders’ name and colors." But Yormark added that they "would seek new fans, including ethnic Russians and others who live in New York and may be hockey fans." The Islanders "will receive a share of the revenue generated by suites used for hockey games." Wang emphasized that he "planned to remain the Islanders’ owner despite suggestions that he would consider selling to" Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Wang: "If I really wanted to sell, the team would have been sold" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/8).
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