It turns out hockey's return to the Nassau Coliseum may not be as welcomed as expected.
The same week it was announced that the National Hockey League had
reached a tentative deal that would end the league's lockout, Nassau Comptroller George Maragos
said the county "may be" better off without the NHL this season.
While the difference in loss of revenue is minuscule between having
the season and canceling it, Maragos said other events that could be
booked at the Coliseum if a full-season lockout were to occur would see a bigger crowd.
"If they do in fact settle, then the loss could be less than $500,000 because we would have the benefit of half of season," Maragos told
Patch Thursday before the lockout was settled. "If they actually cancel the season, we may be a little better off because the Islanders are
not a big draw compared to other events."
Maragos continued by saying that even if the entire season had been
canceled, the county was looking at losses of $500,000 or less. The
monetary losses are all in terms of ticket tax and Nassau's share of
parking and concessions.
The estimates are based on a full season, in which the county would
normally earn approximately $2.6 million in total revenues from the
Coliseum, Maragos said.
But the Islanders are more than the sum of their parts. Long Island
Association Chief Economist Pearl M. Kamer told Patch that the lockout
also impacted nearby businesses dependent on the Coliseum crowd.
“That’s had an impact on the businesses around them: The restaurants, the hotels where people might stay overnight if they go to a
game,” Kamer said.
The comptrolller said that Sunday's decision to end the lockout was
important to the county because the Coliseum could not be booked while
the NHL season was in limbo.
"[Due to] the lockout, which has been kind of month-to-month, it has
not allowed the operator to book other events," Maragos said.
The timing of Sunday's tentative deal on the collective bargaining
agreement between the league and the NHL Players' Association, which
still needs to be ratified by both sides, will allow for what experts
are projecting to be a 48- to 50-game season.
No official word has been given on when the first game at the Nassau Coliseum will take place.