The headline says it all.
I did a few of these entries blaming the poor attendance on the our fans, implored folks here to show up and purchase tickets which forces politicians to spend taxpayer money which retains a team or faces political suicide if a team relocates because of their inaction.
Ed Mangano/Kate Murray got a share of harsh criticism from Islander fans, but not nearly enough to force them to act in the public trust's best interest by retaining the local team. In most other places the doors get locked, a deal get's done.
That's what happened virtually everywhere else (even bankrupt
Detroit) not here.The Wings were playing in front of flies auctioning
off cars when Joe Louis Arena was opened during the Islanders
Pittsburgh in front of their 10,000
fans with an Smg lease like Islanders rallied hard forcing a new arena
to be built. Former Governor, Ed Rendell, faced the spotlight non-stop
while NYS officials could have cared less.
Wang Can't Close Deals/Impossible To Work With?
Say what you want about Charles Wang's management ability, however he did manage to do a deal at Webster Bank Arena to operate a facility he keeps renovating without a referendum, he did the 2009 sublease with Smg, he ended all the 1990's litigation/contention with that company upon become owner, plus he did his lease with Bruce Ratner so the notion he's impossible to work with does not reflect the record.
Plus he renovated the Nassau Coliseum himself out of pocket many times. How many Lighthouse tournaments did he pay to host kids from all over the world to no fanfare? Dolan get's the taxpayer exemption for the Cablevision Garden, the Nassau Coliseum hosts the NYPD VS NYFD hockey games?
Charles Wang was under no pressure to bail out the Boe family for another bankruptcy in Bridgeport, and take over the Sound Tigers, the Isles had no primary home AHL affiliate for years before Wang.
Before Charles Wang how many Master developers or bids surfaced at the HUB? Zero.
How many interviews did Wang give where he said it's not a democratic or republican project? How many times did he just say tell me what you don't like about the project?
Also Scott Rechler is a highly successful billion dollar real estate developer, what did you think he was doing with Charles Wang because he was not in this to renovate the Nassau Coliseum?
Wang/Rechler after spending his share of 20m dollars on losses after the
Lighthouse plus doing over 200 meetings with public was still willing
to agree to a referendum
where he did not get the yearly taxpayer money Phoenix or Msg receives
every year. He did not get the deal James Vanderbeek did from New Jersey
where public money/revenue from arena secured the Devils relocation. Wang
rent/revenue split with no taxpayer money coming yearly.
Wang went on television or gave an interview virtually every day
somewhere asking the public to vote for the referendum for two months.
Neulion was his families creation which the NHL, (now Barclay's) many sports leagues use, along with negotiations costing 140m for Olympic rights. Here there was nothing but apathy (before Wang) beyond his spending (with Rechler on LH) or on the many players he continues to sign, who seem to like being part of his organization once they come here.
Seems Mr Wang has no problem closing deals outside of Nassau County/TOH. Neither does Scott Rechler if you noticed where his Lighthouse money was spent since 2010.
No teams fans stayed away longer than New York Islander fans. Not Atlanta, Florida.
That broke the public trust. The past did not secure the future.
Nassau County/TOH had a very easy time breaking the public trust with the team, the fans helped make it that way for a long time to where the team itself became a non-factor combined with it's primary print/television coverage owned by another NHL franchise with a vested financial interest in seeing them leave NY entirely to get back their television contract money.
It's a factor in the attendance/interest. Teams need these things to grow interest, and this team has less print media now than in 1972 by a mile.
Tom Gulotta mocked the Islanders record in the 90's as he defended Smg, he wanted no part of Howard Milsten's plan for a new arena. Tom Suozzi beyond 2002 proclamation day kept claiming the county was broke, and stuck the Ligthouse in a drawer for years. Ed Mangano last year mocked the Isles preseason game sales in Brooklyn, and in effect kicked out the New York Islanders for the minor league RFP someone else will pay for after a referendum which is a good way to create political cover for yourself.
Wang was right, he needed a place to play, he was being evicted in 2015 for this RFP which had everything to do with money/nothing to do with any semblance of losing the greatest US hockey dynasty in NHL history for one minute.
The New York/New Jersey Nets got their Goodbye/Good-riddance treatment from LI based Ranger fan Chris Christie a year ago for their thirty plus years in New Jersey video.
Can you imaging the response in Detroit if their local officials put the Amway sponsored, Mike Illitch, Red Wings, who already got taxpayer money for Comerica Park (and neglected Tiger Stadium while pocketing money forcing it's demolition) a public referendum on a Red Wings new arena?
Anyone think the poorest congressional district in America (South Bronx) was going to approve a taxpayer bonded stadium for George Steinbrenner via public referendum?
For myself, the New York Islanders have always been a New York team, it's move into NYC at the Barclay's Center nothing more than the Devils moving from the Meadowlands to the Prudential Center.
Others stuck on the Long Island label (a problem the organization also helped create) will see the move differently.
Bottom line if the fans stepped up filled the building, and kept the public trust, it would have been political suicide for the politicians not to follow suit with whoever owned the Islanders by 1991.
A new building with revenue or a massive renovation would have been done by 1995 as John Pickett's legacy for all his spending to go with a team special like few in sports history.
If our fans during 41 home games every year treated them like three playoff games this year since 1989, politicians would have been forced to do whatever it takes to retain the team long ago.
Just like most other places.