Selig fine with idea of Wilpons buying Islanders
Related mediaFor more on this story visit News12 Long Island Lighthouse plans Willets Point businesses react to Islanders proposal
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig Thursday endorsed the idea of the Wilpons purchasing the Islanders or a soccer team to play in the Willets Point area.
To date, Selig said, he hasn't had a substantive discussion with the Wilpons - with whom he is particularly close - about this notion.
Selig added: "If somebody believes that kind of synergism will help, then I think that's good. One thing I've always said, everybody knows their own market best. When I ran the Milwaukee [Brewers], I knew the market like the palm of my hand. Bowie [Kuhn, the former commissioner] couldn't help me. Peter Ueberroth couldn't help me."
Multiple-team ownership is not uncommon in baseball. Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch also owns the Detroit Red Wings, and Tom Hicks is technically the owner of both the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Stars, although the Rangers are in the process of being sold. White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf owns the Chicago Bulls and has been involved in efforts to purchase the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.
The idea of a Mets-Islanders marriage was first raised by Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon Tuesday when he told Newsday he's had talks with Charles Wang about luring the Islanders to Queens. Wang, who hasn't returned calls for comment since then, has long been frustrated by the Town of Hempstead's refusal to move forward on his Lighthouse project, a $3.8-billion mixed-use development that includes a refurbished Nassau Coliseum.
Wang is waiting to hear back from the Town of Hempstead on its vision for a smaller-scale zone. Supervisor Kate Murray told Newsday on Wednesday that she expects those plans to be announced by June. Although Wang has said he has been exploring his options outside of Nassau County since October, people close to him expect him to wait until the town's proposal before he decides what to do.
The Islanders' lease with Nassau County runs through 2015, which is around the time New York City officials hope the Willets Point redevelopment will be taking shape.