After going to the Islanders/Mangano/Murray press conference yesterday I’m left with more questions than answers. Let me preface this by saying that I am for almost any option that keeps the team on LI.
The common phrase being thrown around for their proposal is a no-brainer, but I’m always a bit skeptical, especially when their plan more closely resembles a concept or a vision at this point. I don’t know what the real proposal is, but they are doing their best to make it look good to the taxpayers. At least the concept sounds promising, and if the team actually does pay back the 400 million for the new facilities should everything move forward and the new facilities get built, it will have been a huge, huge gain for Nassau. That’s a big if though.
I can see this team elevating itself to the status of a perennial contender within the next several seasons. That alone should make the team profitable. If it doesn’t, then what is the point? Losing sells seats, jerseys, pucks, sticks, advertisements, and everything else that brings money to the front office. Winning brings it on an entirely different level.
What’s clear is that Wang has conceded his Lighthouse project and in return will attempt to get the new facility financed by the people of Nassau county. The referendum slated for August 1st will be the first of multiple hurdles that must be maneuvered in order to see the ultimate goal of keeping the team on Long Island and giving Long Islanders a great place to watch hockey, and minor league baseball, concerts, etc…
Check out BD Gallof’s insightful article on some of the possible pitfalls and you’ll see that not everything is going to be easy. I asked Mr. Wang at the press conference what would happen if the referendum fails, and he said he didn’t want to think about it. Another member of the press said that … you need to think about that, and he reverted back to the lines we’ve been hearing the past year or more about how all options are on the table. It appears that this is the only break from the status quo, and any loss of momentum brings the team back to square one.
There is still some time before the 2015 end of lease date to create a new proposal should the vote fail, but if the people don’t want a new coliseum now, what makes anyone think they’ll want it later? It will take more money from Wang and/or the developers and that battle might ultimately force the team elsewhere. Wang has been portraying his decisions with the team to be business decisions, and we all know what that means – accountability to dollars and cents.
This video contains some feedback from CJ Papa, Brad Kurtzberg, Dee Karl, Timo Seppa, and BD Gallof. Apologies for the poor audio, and to Christian Arnold whose spot was mysteriously over-darkened and not included. Thanks guys!