FanShot

Bettman Talks about the Islanders Arena Situation

Q: There are half-empty buildings in some of the warm-weather cities and in places like Long Island. Concerns over that? BETTMAN: "Last year, it was our second-highest attendance in the history of the league. And we’re higher this year than we were last year. Teams are doing a lot less comping (of tickets) and we’re playing to a higher percentage of capacity. There are always reasons in a particular case. If you (are) in Long Island, you know what that building (is) like. Doesn’t look like this one. And that’s been a real problem. Phoenix is hopefully going to be sold, and fans there can now vest their emotions in a team that they don’t have to worry about where it’s going to be. There are always issues you can point to, there’s not one generalization. If you go back not too many years ago, people would have said, ‘my word, what’s going to happen to Ottawa or Pittsburgh or Buffalo?’ Those were all franchises that had issues that we fixed." Q: Given how dismal things are with the Islanders and their arena situation, aren’t they in some real trouble as a franchise? DALY: "Charles Wang has put 10 years, or a little more, not only into that franchise, but also into this Lighthouse Project, trying to develop that. He’s put probably $20 million into trying to develop that, and that’s nowhere right now. So, I think he’s taken a step back and I think he’ll have options. I think he’s committed to complying with his lease – he’s got four and a half years left on his lease. He’s going to need a new building. He’ll step back and see what his options are and he’ll operate the club the best he can in imperfect conditions until then." BETTMAN: "Listen, Charles Wang bought the team because he’s passionate about Long Island and he obviously wants the team to stay there. But they just need a new building. Keeping the team in Long Island is obviously his preference, but the team can’t stay there (at Nassau Coliseum). You guys travel the league. You know what our buildings look like. There’s nothing like that anymore."

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