SBD/August 17, 2017/Franchises

Mikhail Prokhorov Pressuring Islanders To Play Games At Nassau Coliseum In '18-19

A Sept. 17 Islanders preseason game at Nassau has been approved by the NHL
Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov, looking to protect a $165M investment in Nassau Coliseum, is "pressuring" the Islanders to "play a significant number of games at the Long Island arena" in the '18-19 season, according to Josh Kosman of the N.Y. POST. Prokhorov, who owns Barclays Center, also "bought the company that under Bruce Ratner promised Nassau County that a professional hockey team would play at the recently renovated suburban arena -- a promise that helped the Nassau Events Center" in '13 win a contract to manage the facility. The source said that Barclays Center’s pressure on the Islanders to "play some games on Long Island comes as the team -- which drew an average crowd of 13,101 last season -- and the arena negotiate a new lease at Barclays." Either side can "exit the lease" in January '18. A source said that the NHL has "approved a Sept. 17 Islanders preseason game at Nassau Coliseum -- but has not addressed the question of whether it would approve regular season games there as well." Both Barclays and the Islanders have "reasons to want to rework their long-term lease." Barclays would like to "lower the back-breaking" $55M-a-year in guaranteed payments to the team. Meanwhile, the Islanders would like "increased flexibility on exiting the lease" (N.Y. POST, 8/16).

WAITING GAME: On Long Island, Arthur Staple notes Islanders C John Tavares was "eligible to sign a new deal on July 1, but it was clear before then that he was going to wait and see how any number of unclear situations played out with the team." Tavares said that he is "waiting to see" what comes of the RFP issued July 30 by New York state "regarding the Belmont Park development." The Islanders, along with the owners of the Mets and Oak View Group, are "expected to pitch building an arena on the 43-acre lot." It is "not clear whether the state will select a winner before Tavares would hit unrestricted free agency next July" (NEWSDAY, 8/17).
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