In news that tangentially affects New York Islanders fans and the hallowed ground they once trode, Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is expected to buy a majority stake in the new Nassau Coliseum redevelopment from Bruce Ratner's Forest City Ratner group.
Long Island Business News has detailsahead of a planned groundbreaking next week, while Nets Daily -- confirming the report -- also notes that the Nets' plan is to launch a minor league basketball (D-League) team to play at the renovated and not-quite-NHL-size facility.
Nets Daily also says that all of the sports properties under Prokhorov would continue to be run by Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark, who has quickly endeared himself to New York Islanders fans by complaining about their complaints as they enter his made-for-basketball building that still has some quite obvious and major spectator issues.
How does this affect the Islanders and their fans? Not much -- not directly at least. For the umpteenth time, the Isles aren't moving back to their original home. But these deals are worth keeping an eye on because:
- The new/revamped Coliseum is right in the backyard of much of the fanbase, and some wonder if, or hope, an AHL hockey club might eventually move there. That's been a persistent rumor. (Ratner also once said the Isles would still play some preseason games at a new Coliseum, though the league has never affirmed that possibility.)
- Ratner, who bought the Nets and developed Barclays Center only to sell interests in both to Prokhorov, then lured the Islanders to Brooklyn before winning the rights to redevelop the Coliseum before, if the reports play out, also selling that. If sports fans are at the mercy of their teams' owners and landlords, then Ratner and Prokhorov are certainly...two of them.
Basically it's a web of sports and land development interests, and the Islanders new owners are tenants in the new home while their landlords redevelopt the old one. If you've been a sports fan for long enough, and a fan of enough different franchises, you eventually realize this is the actual typical order of business while fans are basically revenue pawns.
But make no mistake: The Isles ownership is buying the team from Charles Wang to have it play and build sustainable revenues (and win, that too) in Brooklyn. They're far more likely to push for changes that improve the fan experience in Brooklyn than they are to look for an exit.