The New York Islanders are playing their first season in Brooklyn, New York. It is a year that should have fans excited, but instead they are upset about their new arena.
The Islanders left Nassau Coliseum and moved to the Barclays Center. There are serious issues with the new venue, which include certain sections having a limited view. When you pay anywhere from $30-100 for a ticket, you want to see the whole game. We live in an age of HD television and interactive online capabilities. To get a fan to pay to see their team live, there needs to be a reason to go every night.
Islanders fans need to be patient. There are hundreds of reasons to be a happy Isles fan, number one being the product they have on the ice. John Tavares could become the best player in the game. They finally have a good defense to flank their great offense. They could eventually be a true contender once it is all said and done. The arena is an annoyance right now, but fans should give this ownership group time to get it fixed.
With the renovations breaking ground on Nassau Coliseum, many fans want the team to make the move back to the island. Fans should wait at least a year to let this team get it right. This is just the 10th game of the season coming up. The problem with Barclays is it is used year round, so the options are limited, but there are options. The advertisements on the protective netting needs to be fixed, but that shouldn’t take long, nor should it take much money. The limited mobility around the arena also needs to change. If people have a 200 level seat, let them watch warm-ups from the lower deck until people are ready to take their seats.
The Islanders are currently running at 76 percent capacity, meaning they are only getting around 12,000 people in the door for each home game. Hockey in Brooklyn was not the immediate novelty Isles owner Charles Wang thought it would be. This team needs to work harder to get people to buy in. They cannot continue here, where they are 29th in the league in attendance.
The Islanders have not played the New York Rangers at the Barclays Center yet. That could change the complexion of this entire experiment. One rivalry game could be the turning point for this team’s season in Brooklyn.
Give this team a year to figure it out. Let this team become part of the community. It has been said that the Islanders feel like ‘guests’ at the Barclays Center. It is currently the home of the Brooklyn Nets. It is a work in progress, but it could turn into something great. If it doesn’t, the Coliseum will be done with their renovations in a little over a year.