Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark expressed enthusiasm about the Islanders’ first season in Brooklyn, saying he hoped that his quick response to fans’ concerns had helped ease the transition from Nassau Coliseum.
”We’ve made great progress,” Yormark said during an informal session with reporters on Monday. “We’re excited about the future, we’re excited about the playoffs. It’s been a real positive first year.”
Barclays Center COO Fred Mangione said on Monday that attendance is up 35 percent the past 10 games, even as the Isles lag behind much of the NHL with an average attendance this season of 13,509. That’s 28th out of the 30 teams, while the 85.4 percent capacity ranks 27th.
Mangione and Yormark said ticket prices for next season will remain flat and some premium seat prices will drop. The arena is currently selling season ticket plans for next year.
Also of note for next season: The building and team are trying to slot in more weekend games for 2016-17. The Islanders, who traditionally played most of their games at Nassau Coliseum on Saturdays, had 12 games on Saturdays and Sundays this season, one of which was postponed.
The bumps that Yormark encountered along the way he felt were fixed quickly. Those included a change to a subway-themed goal horn that was changed back to the team’s old goal horn; allowing fans to watch pregame warmups from rink-side after being prevented from doing so for the first month of the season and the return of Sparky, the team’s mascot from prior seasons at the Coliseum.
“When the fans have asked us to reconsider a point of view that we’ve taken, we’ve been open to that change if it makes sense for all of us,” Yormark said.
One thing that will not change is the odd seating configuration. Yormark said the arena has consulted with engineers to consider some changes to the end with several hundred obstructed-view seats, but that major changes aren’t in the works.
“We just have to weigh all those things,” he said. “If it makes sense, we’ll always consider it. If there’s ways we can improve the experience, the overall dynamic here, we’ll explore it. We owe it to the fans to do that.”