Is it possible that Wang never wanted this vote to pass?
His offer to pay for the referendum vote was always contingent on if the vote won, which never appeared to be full fledged commitment to me.
Wang did no P.R. or GOTV for this plan other than preaching to the already ‘Yes’ voters in Nassau County.
I’m starting to think that this wasn’t the politicians attempt to wash there hands of the Islanders, but Wang’s attempt to wash his of Uniondale.
Wang will be free in 2015. He can sell the team, which I doubt. He can move the team to Brooklyn (which would be great for me, but bad for him – he’d be right back to being a tenant at probably bad terms and no real way to start making money on the team. I can see Brooklyn as a one or two year stop-gap if come 2015, he’s not fully built or committed to anything better. Lets face it, we are so desperate that we are saying that 14,500 isn’t so bad – well it is. Nobody wants a professional arena that size.). Wang can try and build and develop wherever he thinks he’ll be most successful. He can look for a site on public transportation in Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau that also includes surrounding development opportunities.
I’m starting to see Wang as the biggest winner with the referendum not passing (Jay Jacobs – our unlikely and unlikable hero and ally). He’s free of Uniondale. He’s free of the Town of Hempstead. Mo more aging and broken Coliseum in a bad and soulless spot. No more spending money to build on land that he doesn’t own. No more lack of money making development opportunities tied to a new building.
While I’m not much of a Wang fan I do respect his business acumen as well as his devotion to being a positive community presence through his ownership even as it hurts his bottom line (… so much for the business acumen). If Wang wanted to sell the team he would have been out a hundred million or so in losses ago.
I think that the Islanders stay on Long Island and they build there own arena (publicly, privately, a mix, tax-breaks – whatever works), that includes surrounding development rights and near public transportation. (As I typed, I realized that Willets Point could be the only spot that fits.)
Wang will eventually start to make money. As the talent ages and improves the team will progress to a playoff mainstay and eventually … at some point further down the road than is really necessary we will not the be the butt of every NHL joke, but only most of them.
Wang won the right to do what he wants and where it makes the most sense for him and his team the moment the referendum went down.