Barclays Center to entice Islanders' season-ticket holders
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The Islanders are getting ready for their final season at Nassau Coliseum, so there will be plenty of time for fans to look back on 42 seasons of Long Island pro hockey.
But next week, season-ticket holders will get a glimpse of the future, with a mailing and a slogan from downtown Brooklyn.
"We're in the hockey business now," said Brett Yormark, Barclays Center CEO, "and we're very excited."
Yormark is very visibly spearheading the charge by the Islanders' new landlord to entice Long Islanders who have dedicated their time and money to the team to come to Brooklyn in the fall of 2015, when the Islanders will officially become city dwellers.
Charles Wang agreed to move the Islanders to Barclays Center in October 2012 and turned over sales, marketing and merchandising operations to Barclays Center, under Yormark's guidance.
Yormark, who readily responds on Twitter to fans, is featured in a video that will be sent to current Islanders season-ticket holders starting on July 1 along with the new marketing campaign slogan, "Tradition Has a New Home," that Yormark said came from many months of focus-group testing and communicating with the Islanders' fan base on the Island.
"When we did this deal with Charles two years ago, we started consulting with them to understand the hockey fan a little better, to understand what the Islander fan was really thinking," Yormark said. "As an example, when there were rumors out there that we were going to totally change the primary jerseys, the avid fan responded. And I was happy to hear from them. There is that hardcore fan base out there who cares about their team, who cares about the identity of their team and they didn't want it changed overnight. And you know what? I got it.
"We discovered early on that the hard-core fans on Long Island feel that they have a long-lasting tradition with the four Stanley Cups. Whether the team has been successful of late isn't really the question; it's, how to do you pay respect to that tradition in a way that invites and welcomes that long-time fan to make the move to Brooklyn?"
Thus, the new slogan -- as well as the same orange, blue and white Islanders jerseys that are familiar to fans. But expect a new third jersey that looks more like the black-and-white Brooklyn Nets jerseys; Yormark said he's met with the adidas/Reebok apparel makers to start the third-jersey design process.
Ths first wave of marketing for the move is aimed solely at Long Islanders who have followed the team for decades. In the fall, Yormark said his group will target Brooklyn residents who may be newer to the team and the game.
It's a similar playbook that he followed when the Nets moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn two years ago, though Yormark said he expects many more Islanders fans to make the move, given the proximity by car and Long Island Rail Road.
Yormark also said that he and Wang have not discussed any possible sale of the team and that a sale would not alter the agreement between the Islanders and Barclays Center.
"From a hockey standpoint, Charles is gearing up to bring a great product to Brooklyn," Yormark said. "I think Charles is acting as if he's an owner for the next couple years and wants to be the owner as the team transitions to Brooklyn."