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Islanders Move Could Spur $175M in Economic Activity

A preliminary report by the city says that the professional hockey team could bring millions to Brooklyn when they play in 2015.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation has estimated that the New York Islanders move to the Barclays Center could generate $175 million in economic activity for Brooklyn each season, according to the New York Times.

The Islanders lease at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum expires at the end of the 2014-2015 season, and afterwards the team will call Brooklyn home for at least 25 years.

Some local bloggers are cautious to hail the estimated revenue, arguing that there may be more to the picture.

Atlantic Yards Report points out that the money is actually “vaguely described ‘economic activity’ (not government revenues),” and Field of Schemes says that while keeping the arena busy with events almost every night will cause more restaurants and bars to crop up, “it’s not like there were many vacant storefronts around there before the arena.”

As expected, Long Island pols were none too happy with the idea of losing a professional sports team to Brooklyn – and losing revenue.

“This is a sad day for Nassau County and unfortunately another crippling hit to our local economy,” Kevan Abrahams, the county’s Democratic leader, said in a statement, according to the Times.

Islanders owner Charles Wang had long been eager to upgrade or replace the Nassau Coliseum, which opened in 1972 and is one of the older arenas in professional hockey.

Last August, Nassau County voters – who pay some of the highest local taxes in the country – defeated a proposal to spend $400 million to upgrade the arena. According to the Times, the team was even open to the possibility of moving to another city, like Quebec City, Kansas City and Seattle.

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