New York Islanders ownership is joining with Oak View Group on a proposal to downsize the Nassau Coliseum into a music-focused venue following the Islanders move to UBS Arena in 2021, Newsday reported on Tuesday night.
Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke is hoping by joining forces with New York Arena Partners, the group made of Isles ownership, New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and Oak View Group, it will bolster their proposal. New York Arena Partners is the group building the Islanders’ new arena at Belmont Park and developing the surrounding area.
Leiweke’s plan focuses on cutting the Coliseum’s capacity to half of what it is now and the Oak View Group CEO sees the music-focused Nassau Coliseum as “a complement to Radio City Music Hall.”
The Islanders are slated to play their final season before UBS Arena opens at the Nassau Coliseum. There was some concern after Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports and Entertainment closed the Long Island venue in June while they searched for someone to take over the lease of the building.
Florida developer Nick Mastroianni II reached a deal with Nassau County to assume control of the lease for the Coliseum last month. On Tuesday he had begun internal meetings to discuss the future of the building, according to Newsday.
Oak View Group began expressing interest in the Nassau Coliseum in July after Leiweke was encouraged to be “part of the solution” by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Leiweke told Newsday. Mastroianni has until October to come with a plan for Nassau and submit it to the county.
The addition of the Islanders’ ownership group adds an interesting wrinkle to the Nassau Coliseum process. If Mastroianni decides not to select the Oak View Group bid, then the Islanders could potentially play in the building with another group running it.
Islanders owner Jon Ledecky has said in the past that he is confident the Islanders will play one final season at the Coliseum.
During a sit down at the Preview Club in Manhattan with a small contingent of reporters, which included NYI Hockey Now, Ledecky said the focus was on the team’s run to the Stanley Cup and not on thinking about next season and how to honor the final year at Nassau.
“We’re focused on right now with the playoffs. Trying to reach the Stanley Cup Final,” Ledecky said. “In terms of the Nassau Coliseum, there’s just a lot of things going on. I think we’re looking forward to opening up the UBS Arena. … I can tell you there’s been a singular focus on where we are right now.”