Sunday, December 27, 2009

More Clarity on the Lease

More information came (from behind a paywall) about the new sub-lease for the Nassau Coliseum.  Hat tip to reader Scott for the links; I have been at family Christmas parties pretty much since the last post went live.

Quickly, here are some important points to remember, and then I will add a quick analysis of my own:

  • SMG will continue to have day-to-day control of the Coliseum.
  • The Islanders will gain operational control of the arena, handling all Coliseum bookings and receiving all the concessions, parking, and ticket revenue SMG used to receive.
  • The agreement does not prevent the Islanders from leaving Nassau Coliseum, but they would be required to pay SMG the remainder of their rent, through 2015.
  • The Islanders would still require County approval to leave Nassau Coliseum.

While removing a major hurdle to getting the Lighthouse Project done, the lease also, admittedly, removes a hurdle to the team leaving Nassau County as well (though there is a permanent injunction still in place forcing the Islanders to play home games at Nassau Coliseum through 2015 - there would likely be an issue with the County should that change).  As Deputy County Executive (for now) Marilyn Gottlieb pointed out, control over Coliseum bookings is an important issue, since it would allow Mr. Wang and Mr. Rechler to more easily set a construction timetable should the project receive approval by the summertime.

In addition, this does not in any way, as I said, signal that the team is willing to give it a go with "just an arena," and I don't know why some people are still clinging to that idea.  It will help stanch the financial bleeding, though it may not be enough to get the Islanders in the black.  Overall, as I have said before, there is a profound difference between making money and making enough money to justify a $320 million investment.

Bottom Line

This is positive news, and it should be treated as such, but it is also a reminder that the clock is ticking and that we need a positive resolution on this project before the main economic engine contained within it explores opportunities elsewhere.

Please share your thoughts in comments. PetitionEmailTwitterFacebook.

I'd also like to wish a Merry Christmas to my friends and readers who celebrate it.  I hope the holiday season is treating you well, and I look forward to participating in this journey with you, in whatever way I can, in 2010.


  1. "The Islanders will gain operational control of the arena, handling all Coliseum bookings and receiving all the concessions, parking, and ticket revenue SMG used to receive".

    This is great news for Wang and the entire Isles organization...I hope it helps bring good things to the NVMC site...The only thing that bothers me is the question of why Suozzi didn't help make this happen 5 years ago...It would've helped

  2. I still don't understand what SMG gets out of this. They appear to be giving up something and getting nothing back. The only thing I can think is that they believe this gives them more of a seat at the table to manage the new Coliseum post-2015. I just can't come up with any other theory.

  3. Tigmet - my gut tells me they were threatened or bullied into this. The Lighthouse had all but said at the beginning of this year that SMG would not be involved in a new building, and it seemed like they would buy out or condemn the lease. Maybe this is a chance for SMG to retain management of the building after it's renovated? Seems to be the only thing that could possibly do that - I'd sign the lease if my only other options were buy out, condemn the lease, or lawsuit. Otherwise, you're right, there seemed to be very little incentive for SMG.

  4. SMG, according to Newsday receives 17 million from the Isles regardless of whether they stay in NVMC until 2015. Nick, if a County approval is required for the Isles to leave, who could vote on this issue?

  5. funny how contributors to this site are able to see through the forest to the REAL crux of this issue while the "press" somehow misses it entirely.

  6. Nick, cant thank you enough for this website. I am sure that you have to do a lot of digging to get all this info and I for one truly appreciate this.
    After this "big hurdle", I dont understand why the LHP hasnt come out and said anything of any substance. You would figure that if this was a big step for the LHP, they would mention something/anything about it at all. Even if just on their wesbite and not out in the press. Seems like the LHP is following in the footsteps of the Islanders, secretive about everything.

  7. Jae - it's 2 different things. The original agreement, which states the team can't leave without County approval, isn't touched. This is a new agreement between just the Islanders and SMG - that's why Suozzi only had to sign off on it and the Mangano camp is so angry.

    Day1 - your guess is as good as mine.

    Paul - thanks for the kind words. I can't disagree with anything you've said; I'm sure you saw last week's Special Comment where I said I thought the Lighthouse needed to end the media blackout because it wasn't helping their cause at all. I hope we hear something from them soon; I expect things to pick up once Ed Mangano takes the oath of office.

  8. Jim from St James, -

    Seems like wang played a little hard ball here, I'll bet he told SMG, "this falls through, we leave", and SMG & the NVCM looses it's biggest moneymaker. Hence SMG, giving in on control, Plus they get a lead into the new building.
    I've read that the "new" complex was to have a Convention center for trade/car/boat shows, as well as bring back some concerts that now avoid the NVMC ( Billy??), Thats a lot of incentive.

    How does this affect the relationship with Mrs, Murry & the TOH GOP Gang, I mean town gov?

  9. Nick,
    Do you think that big steps foward will be taken once Mangano does take office? I remember the interview you posted with him a while back but I dont know if you can trust this guy. I mean, he is a politician so how can you trust him!
    I think that one of two things can happen when Mangano takes office. Either he starts with the Lighthouse stuff right away, or we dont hear a peep from him on it for many months. I fear that with all the support money he has received from "anti LHP" groups, he wont start out his term with anything that will help move the LHP along at all. I hope I am wrong.

  10. Even if Wang threatened to leave if SMG didn;t agree to the sub-lease, what's to stop Wang from leaving anyway? Did Wang secretly sign an extension? NOt possible as that would require the County Exec and County Leg.

    So what's to stop Wang from leaving anyway?

    Why SMG agreed to this arrangment is the great unknown. Suozzi has little to no leverage in this his last week in office. Wang probably doens;t want SMG there past 2015, esepcially if he's going to shell out the $$$ for the LHP.

  11. Who would threaten SMG? Wang is a nobody & Suozzi is a lameduck, that's less than a nobody. Why would SMG take this offer? If they were bullied it wasn't by Wang or by Suozzi, that's for sure.