The New York Islanders could make use of an opt-out clause with the Barclays Center by January 2018. And if the Islanders do choose to leave Brooklyn, restrictions in triggering the clause could leave the team waiting before finding a new home.
Despite the fact that the New York Islanders have only completed one full campaign at the Barclays Center, there continues to be speculation that the team could be hoping to leave their current home for greener pastures as soon as possible. And that could mean the Islanders are playing elsewhere by the time the 2018-19 campaign rolls around.
According to Newsday’s Jim Baumbach, the Islanders have the possibility of leaving the Barclays Center, which is also the home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, after playing out their third season in the building. It had previously been reported by Newsday that the opt-out clause wouldn’t kick in until the end of the Islanders’ fourth season in Brooklyn.
In order to opt-out, the Islanders and Barclays Center would have to fail to reach terms on a renegotiation following the 2016-17 season, Baumbach reported. The renegotiation window begins Jan. 1, 2018 and must be complete by Jan. 30, 2018. Barring a renegotiated deal, the Islanders and Barclays Center would have to agree to remain on the current lease agreement, which seems a near impossibility given the unhappiness the club appears to have with their current situation.
If the sides cannot agree on a new lease agreement, the Islanders and/or the Barclays Center would have until the Jan. 30, 2018, to deliver a written opt-out notice.
However, Baumbach reported that the opt-out clause can only be triggered if the team and Barclays Center have “good-faith discussions” during the January 2018 renegotiation window. That could complicate things for the Islanders when it comes to finding a new home.
There has been reports of the Islanders considering a new arena in Queens near Citi Field, the home of the MLB’s New York Mets. Those discussions have been going on for months, according to a report earlier this summer, but the Islanders may need to exchange proposals with Barclays Center during the renegotiation window in order to fulfill the “good-faith discussions” portion of the clause, according to Newsday. Having another arena deal in place could potentially hinder the team from exchanging such proposals, which would mean the opt-out clause couldn’t be triggered.
Opting out of the deal comes with an interesting wrinkle that may have the Islanders considering making the first move, though. If the team decides to opt out, they can choose to leave following the 2017-18 campaign or remain in the building until the end of the 2018-19 season, according to Baumbach. If Barclays Center is behind the opt-out, the Islanders will be forced to play at the arena through the 2018-19 campaign.
Even if either side opts out, though, the Islanders could choose to stay put until the end of the 2018-19 campaign or even slightly longer, especially if they’re waiting on a new building.
The Islanders have reportedly considered leaving Barclays Center as soon as possible for a number of reasons, including revenue generation at their current home. The Islanders saw an attendance drop of nearly 2,000 per game this past season despite improvements. None of this is to mention that some seats have bad sight-lines, the building has an awkwardly positioned scoreboard and strange set up for hockey and ice conditions that have been questionable at times.
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.