Point Blank: Chris Botta today in his blog discusses the Islanders involvement for two years in trying to be one of the teams selected to play at Yankee Stadium.
NYI Fan Central Comments:
Mr Botta, all due respect but the Islanders created this problem for themselves and if they are excluded from an outdoor game in New York Islander Country which includes the Bronx and the entire tri-state area they have no one but themselves to blame for it.
Do you really think the Ranger salesman and spin doctors in the local print media were going to push to put the Rangers competition on an equal New York stage for a big event? This is about the Ranger media and the garden trying to give their team badly needed exposure because hockey cannot compete with the major sports and of course that's why the New York Islanders want in.
Judging by the strong Islander turnout at Msg and in New Jersey this cannot be marketed to the public as only a Long Island team but that's the direction ownership has gone in to such an extreme it's coming back to hurt the club now in situations like this.
Dick Ebersol, is well connected to the Garden and even airs Knicks games on NBC to market the club on free television. He does not want the Islanders or Devils in any competition with the Rangers under any circumstances on his network nor do they care how low the Ranger ratings are on NBC nationally. They would not even change their schedule last spring to telecast Islanders-Devils on Easter Sunday which was a huge ratings game here so a meaningless Sabre-Flyer game aired which was the scheduled game. NBC would not even schedule Islanders-Rangers this April for a game at the end of the season.
NBC used to have a personal stake in the Garden according to Business Week in 1997 here and Mr Ebersol lobbies constantly for the Garden and any event to be played there.
NHL personnel like former Ranger Daily News writer Frank Brown or former Ranger employees Colin Campbell or Mike Murphy will not do a thing to help the Isles here if they have any say in it at all.
For years now the Long Island mantra has been placed on everything coming out of this organization from player comments to any team release and now fans inside the city limits and tri-state area are almost made to feel you are rooting for the wrong local team if you are a New York Islander fan. That's a major mistake that has hurt on a lot of levels including the box office in my estimation. There are days Newsday has cut out Islander coverage in the city limits edition of the paper and if you cannot read about your team you tend to stop watching after a while.
I understand the urgent need to make the local community feel it is a part of the team and connect with them as the club tries to bring in a new generation of fans after years of trying to get back it's older generation of fans but it's given the city media a reason to stop covering the club as a New York based franchise and it's hurt the Islanders ability to market themselves outside of Nassau and Suffolk County and now it may cost them the outdoor game.
Isles never struck a balance with that and putting some ads in one Manhattan electronics store last year is not enough.
New York City is not a major hockey market. Playoff ratings last year and indifference by the media does not lie and has not this year either. Buffalo doubled and tripled up hockey ratings in New York last spring so this is not a number one market for hockey. It's a market that preferred NASCAR to playoff hockey in New York by thirty eight percent last spring as Richard Sandomir in the Times confirmed last April here.
The idea that the Rangers are the host team in the Bronx makes no sense given how Cablevision kept YES off television for a full year and them did all they could to keep the Jets out of New York and all their past problems with the Mets and the city itself. To say nothing of the strong Islander fan support they receive inside the city market for games.
Michael Bloomberg I'm sure would have no problem with the station he owns the Islanders radio rights to being the host New York team given his relationship with the Garden since the West Side Stadium and how Sheldon Silver has a vested interested in Msg himself here and as an avid Ranger fan is given special treatment according to this NY Post article from Tom Topuousis in Dec 2006 here. Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoff is a former Islander minority owner as well.
Cablevision did a deal to make sure only one team they owned got two games televised on free television on channel 9, despite all those FSN-2 dates for the Isles this season. This teams fan base expanded in huge numbers with the games being played on channel 9 a long time ago.
Cablevision does not own the Islanders television rights today to help them expand the fanbase, it's always been to limit their exposure.
New York Islanders means New York, not just Long Island and the ownership needs to start to address all it's fans in tri-state area.
As for Mr Botta it's up to him and the New York Islanders to get the Yankees to make sure the Islanders are involved in this after being the team to initiate the idea.