The two largest developers competing to rebuild the Nassau Coliseum have begun running television and print ads in what experts called an effort to convince local residents and public officials that their projects can finally revitalize the property.
MSG's 30-second commercial focuses on its $250 million proposal to renovate the arena with 14,500 seats and construct Long Island Live!, an entertainment complex that would include restaurants, clubs and sports bars. Narrated by Al Trautwig, who hosts pre- and postgame shows for the New York Knicks and Rangers, the MSG video features renderings of the project and highlights the plan's potential to create jobs and boost revenue for Nassau County.
Ratner's video for his $229 million proposal begins with the words "Nassau Like Never Before" and a rendering of a renovated 13,000-seat Coliseum. The ad shows video clips of potential attractions, including musical artists such as Jay-Z. It concludes with an image of the refurbished arena juxtaposed over photos of Yankee Stadium, Cowboys Stadium in Dallas and Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which Ratner owns. The Yankees and Cowboys co-own Legends, a New York food and beverage vendor that would handle food services at a renovated Coliseum.
Stephen Mosher, a professor of sports management and the media at Ithaca College, said the ads target different demographics. Ratner is "attempting to appeal to a younger, more transient demographic," while MSG "is attempting to engage the residents of Nassau County who actually live there and have their roots there," he said.
Lee Igel, a professor of sports management at the New York University Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management, said both companies "are trying to appeal to the people who will buy tickets and to those in politics and government that will ultimately pull the lever here."
The other two Coliseum bidders, Syosset-based Blumenfeld Development Group and Bayville-based New York Sports LLC, have not run any ads promoting their plans. Blumenfeld would tear down the Coliseum in his $180 million proposal and build a new 9,000-12,000 seat arena and a 100,000-square-foot convention center. New York Sports has a $60 million to $90 million plan that would refurbish the interior of the existing arena with 8,000 to 10,000 seats.
MSG and Ratner declined to disclose details about their television ad buys. But both groups touted their respective visions.
Melissa Ormond, president of MSG Entertainment, said the MSG plan "boldly re-imagines the Nassau Coliseum site as a thriving, 365-day-a-year destination that will deliver something for everyone."
"These are iconic buildings and venues," said Brett Yormark, CEO of the Barclays Center, referring to Barclays and the Yankee and Cowboy stadiums. "And next up is the Nassau Coliseum."
In addition to their respective television ads, MSG and Ratner are running full-page ads in Newsday.
MSG also has launched a website devoted to its proposal. The Ratner team has not created a website focused on its Coliseum plan.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano is expected to select a bidder to redevelop the 16,000-seat Uniondale arena before July 15. The plan also must be approved by the county legislature.
Last week, Ratner took his campaign to broadcast outlets, touting his plan on both Fox Business Network and Bloomberg Radio. He told Fox that MSG does not have the power to block his plan to bring six New York Islanders games to Nassau Coliseum after the team moves to Brooklyn in 2015.
"But even if they could . . . why would anybody deny the people of Long Island the right to see a team?" Ratner said. "I don't think they would do that. At the end of the day, you have to do what's right for the people of Nassau, Suffolk. I think they would do the right thing, but they don't really have the right to do that anyhow."
A source familiar with the issue told Newsday that the Rangers, as well as the National Hockey League, would have to approve the locale of the six games. The Rangers own exclusive territorial rights for a 50-mile radius from their Manhattan home base because they were formed in New York before the Islanders, according to a second source.
The NHL has declined to discuss Ratner's plan. An MSG spokeswoman declined to comment on Ratner's remarks.
The Dolan family owns controlling interest in Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.
The MSG ad can be viewed here: www.dutchproductions.com/direct/MSG_NassauColiseum30
MSG has also launched a website devoted to their proposal. The web site is www.msghubvision.com
The Ratner ad can be viewed here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqpBjFoWZ14