The New York Islanders are considering a move to Queens after a poor first season at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, according to Bloomberg.
The Islanders are partially owned by Sterling Equities, the owners of the Mets, and have apparently been discussing a plan to build an arena adjacent to Citi Field in Willets Point. It’s unclear whether the arena would be built on a portion of the current parking lots for Citi Field, or whether it would occupy land in the area of Willets Point that the Mets have long been looking to redevelop—land currently occupied by auto-body shops and salvage yards.
It’s no secret that Islanders fans have been unhappy with the move to the Barclays Center, which has brought rising ticket prices, and many say a worse hockey-watching experience. The Barclays center seats 15,795 for hockey, several hundred seats fewer than Nassau Coliseum, and 1,500 of those 15,795 seats have an obstructed view.
The obstructed view seats are so bad that they’ve been called “the worst seat in American professional sports.”
Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Fuchs asked Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark about the obstructed view seats in an interview. Yormark’s answer further infuriated many Islanders fans:
It seems the Islanders may now be looking for a way to end the days of fans’ having to watch the game on their cellphones from the arena. There’s apparently a little-known clause in the Islanders’ deal that allows them to break their lease after the 2018-2019 season.
Newsday confirmed through its own sources that Islanders owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky have indeed been in contact with the Wilpons. Whether this move has serious potential or is merely a play for leverage against the Barclays Center is not yet clear.