All-out ad blitz precedes Coliseum vote

A sign stating "VOTE YES FOR A NEW A sign stating "VOTE YES FOR A NEW ARENA" covered the marque for the Nassau Coliseum. (July 19, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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Supporters and opponents of a plan to build a new Nassau Coliseum are making their final pitch to voters through media outlets in the homestretch to a critical vote on Aug. 1.

With the referendum on whether to borrow as much as $400 million for the new facilities five days away, Nassau residents are being blanketed with advertisements, primarily funded by the New York Islanders hockey team, urging support for a new arena and minor league baseball park.

The opposition, led by the Association for a Better Long Island, a real estate group, has been running ads on radio and in community newspapers warning residents about tax hikes.

The Islander's Vote Yes 2011 Committee has run a pair of TV commercials over the past two weeks. One spot stresses that closure of the Coliseum would hurt Nassau's economy through the loss of the sales tax revenue from Islanders' games, circuses and concerts.

Another features well-known area residents and natives, including actor Kevin Connolly of HBO's "Entourage" series, model Carol Alt, ex-Islander Bobby Nystrom and James Dolan, chief executive of Cablevision Systems Corp., Newsday's parent company.

"The media campaign is designed for the demographics of Nassau County," said Islanders senior vice president Michael Picker. He declined to provide a list of stations the ads are appearing on or the cost of the marketing effort.

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The committee also has run a host of radio spots, while advertisements are appearing in Newsday's print edition, on its website and in community papers. The team also has promoted the effort through team blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

Nassau County, while prohibited by law from advocating for the vote's passage, has sent out two million emails notifying residents of the vote, said county spokesman Brian Nevin.

Local unions also plan to step up their presence in the coming days, including phone calls, distributing literature at railroad stations and a door-to-door campaign on Saturday.

ABLI, meanwhile, has ads on 1010 WINS six times a day, said spokesman Gary Lewi. Ads will be appearing on WCBS/880 AM, KJOY/98.3 FM and in community newspapers later this week. Lewi declined to discuss the campaign's price, although he noted it's a "fraction of a fraction" of what proponents are spending. The ads, paid for by the Committee for Smart Growth in Long Island, highlight the project's impact on property taxes and raise questions about future development at the site.

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