The New York Islanders are supposed to play their final year at Nassau Coliseum this coming regular season before UBS Arena opens in 2021.
That remains the hope of Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke and the Islanders. That plan has been put into question a bit after Onexim Sports and Entertainment closed the Coliseum down in June and then Nassau County came to an agreement with Nick Mastroianni II to take over the lease last month.
Oak View Group recently put in a proposal to downsize the Nassau Coliseum after the Islanders move to UBS Arena.
“I hope Nassau works out. That’s where the Islanders should play their games,” Leiweke told amNewYork Metro’s Joe Pantorno during a wide-ranging interview. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to be in a position where Nassau Coliseum’s future use is pitted directly against UBS Arena. It’s a billion-dollar private investment, so hopefully, there’s a way where we can find a solution for everyone and I’m going to leave it at that.”
— Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) September 10, 2020
The $1.5 billion UBS Arena project includes a new building for the Islanders, a retail district, a hotel and a newly constructed LIRR station. NYI Hockey Now was invited down to the Preview Club in Manhattan on Monday and spoke with Leiweke and Islanders owner Jon Ledecky about what the new project will look like.
On Tuesday, Newsday reported that the Islanders ownership had joined Oak View Group in its bid to downsize the Nassau Coliseum into a music-focused venue once the team played out their final year in 2020-21.
Should Oak View Group’s plan be picked by Mastroianni, it would be the third Islanders-related venue they operate. They will run UBS Arena once it opens and they currently run operations at Webster Bank Arena, home of the Islanders AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Oak View Group took over operations of the Connecticut arena in 2019.
“Jon and Scott have been kind enough to back Lou on getting the OVG team in there, too,” Leiweke said in the same amMetro New York interview. “So we have the synergy of our management team at UBS Arena and we put together I think the best management team for an arena I’ve ever seen. They’re also overseeing Bridgeport and they’re working on a long-term vision there. If something happened at Nassau, they’d also be the same team that oversees that.
“We’re very fortunate that we have some of the best executives in the business.”