December 9, 2009 by JAMES BERNSTEIN
Developer Bruce Ratner has just released a report affirming his keen interest in attracting the New York Islanders to his planned Brooklyn Arena in the borough's downtown area.
Ratner's report, prepared by Convention, Sports, Leisure International of Plano, Texas to help sell bonds to build the arena, comes a week after Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, one of the most prominent backers of the Lighthouse Project, lost his re-election bid to Republican EdMangano.. The Lighthouse was to include a renovated Nassau Coliseum. During the campaign, Mangano was lukewarm about the Lighthouse Project.
Additionally, Lighthouse developers Charles Wang and Scott Rechler have been unhappy with what they see as the slow pace of the approval process for the Lighthouse.
"The New York Islanders could potentially become a tenant of the proposed area . . . moving from their current home of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum," the report states. The area, the report says, is currently designed to house the New Jersey Nets basketball team.
The report was part of a market analysis to help Goldman Sachs sell $500 million worth of bonds to investors to build the arena. The analysis said Brooklyn was "a healthy place" to build a sports arena.
"If built as planned, the arena would need to be retrofitted to accommodate the ice-making abilities the [National Hockey League] requires for its franchises," the report says.
Wang has threatened to move the Islanders, possibly to Kansas City, if the project is not approved.
John Meindl, president of Sportsbrandmedia Inc., a sports marketing company in Rockville Centre, said Rater "sees a window of opportunity" following Suozzi's loss. On his [Ratner's] part it's a brilliant move."
But, Meindl said, the Islanders - a woeful team for years now - might have difficulty attracting fans to downtown Brooklyn from Long Island.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick