Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark on Sunday night called the Islanders “a rent-a-team” that never fully embraced Brooklyn — and vice versa — while also casting doubt on the team’s planned move to a new arena near Belmont Park.
In an interview with “Sports Xtra” host Tina Cervasio on Fox 5, Yormark was asked about what went wrong with the Islanders’ move to Brooklyn and said, “Unfortunately, it didn’t work. We had great hopes that moving the Islanders to Brooklyn would work. Unfortunately, they were like a rent-a-team. This team never really embraced Brooklyn, unfortunately.
“Their fan base resides in Long Island. They have a great, avid fan base in Long Island. Brooklyn just didn’t gravitate to the team as I had hoped they would. But I think the move next year, where they’re playing 12 games back in Long Island — and after next year we’ll probably play half the schedule, if not more [there] — is a step in the right direction.
“Obviously, they’re looking to build their own venue. Not sure that ever happens, but if it does, I wish them well. But in the interim our goal was to bring them back to Long Island, have them play as many games as they can at NYCB Live, and that’s happening, so I’m excited about it.”
The Islanders’ planned arena will take more than three years to complete, according to a Newsday analysis in January, which would put the opening near the start of the 2021-22 season.
In the meantime, they will play at both Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum, both of which are under Yormark’s corporate jurisdiction.
The Islanders’ partners in the Belmont facility include Oak View Group, an arena development company partly funded by Madison Square Garden, and Sterling Project Development, a real estate firm run by the Mets’ Wilpon family.