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Comptroller: Nassau Better Off Without NHL Season

Comptroller says other events could get a bigger draw over Islanders.

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.
sadeto January 07, 2013 at 11:12 PM
Because the County doesn't control the lease, that's why.
Katie January 07, 2013 at 11:38 PM
George Maragos is a "numbers man" and a "hockey fan". Like it or not the numbers or lack there of speak for themselves! Maragos has probably attended more Islanders games than you! Is it hockey your interested in here Mikey or is it Nassau County politics??????? hhmmmmm..........
LI Portuguese Culture January 07, 2013 at 11:42 PM
I beleive Marago's comments have been grossly distorted here, I read the report he released back in 2011 and the way these quotes above have been assembled only represent half of his analysis. I posted the link below for anyone who wants to see what I am talking about. As a die-hard Islander fan myself, after i read this article I called his office because like many of you I was upset (I also would never support anyone that dosn't back the Isles!) Long-story short, anyone who wants to say Maragos isn't a true fan will be proven wrong when they show up for the opening home game and he is there cheering along-side them!!! http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Comptroller/NewsRelease/2011/documents/NVMC-Review_of_Proposed_Redevelopment_FINAL.pdf
Norm204 January 07, 2013 at 11:43 PM
The Comptroller was just talking numbers. If you are pissed off because the Islanders are leaving you are barking up he wrong tree. I once saw his bio and in high school he lettered in hockey up in Montreal. So I think he is more of a hockey fan than any of you. When Wang could not get is win-win plan (none of his money and no liability) approved, it was a sure bet he was going to Brooklyn. So if you are pissed at someone, look to Wang and stop blaming the Comptroller who is only doing his job.
LI Portuguese Culture January 07, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Marago's report shows that SMG owns the contract/lease with the Isles, not the County- therefore the County gets a higher percentage of non-isles event revenue, almost $2 to 1. That was the point it appears he was trying to make.
P.J. January 08, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Maragos should stop talking for a while, maybe sit the next couple of plays out.
sadeto January 08, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Wang is a crook. He is sitting at home and not in the Federal penitentiary in Miami with Sanjay Kumar supposedly because of the statute of limitations on securities fraud, but likely also because of his political connections with D'Amato and other crooks. I am glad the TONH rejected him.
paul January 08, 2013 at 01:39 AM
What a dumb statement made by Maragos. I guess he does not have the capacity to see the economic blight that nothing at the coliseum has caused. Guess he is dumb and dumber at the same time...
S.M. January 08, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Is it me or does it just plain suck around here?
Ralebird January 08, 2013 at 06:41 AM
I guess I missed all the big events at the Coliseum since the last NHL season ended except the concert closed down early because of all the kids with the drug reactions. Exactly how many days has the dump been occupied since last spring?
Michael January 08, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Saying that Nassau County is better off without the Islanders is like having this incredibly beautiful and loving girlfriend. You break up because you don't appreciate what you got. People are asking you what the hell were you thinking breaking up with her... You say, "We're better off"... What a crock. If Nassau had any foresight, the Coliseum would be the premier location for anything... The Barclays wouldn't have been built if the powers that be in Nassau kept the Coliseum modern and competitive... What a shame for hockey fans and again, the people of Nassau
Mike January 08, 2013 at 12:20 PM
@Katie - is that you Kate Murray? You're joking, right? The study that Maragos uses to justify his opinion is based on a study that is at least 7 years old. It's based on a younger Coliseum, the non-existence of the Barclay's Center, does not consider the 2012 asbestos scares in the Coliseum, does not consider the Isles lease terms, and other various failed assumptions by his short sightedness. Is it George Maragos you're shilling for or Nassau County politics???? hmmmmm
Vincent January 08, 2013 at 12:36 PM
One story on the return of hockey seems to have trumped the Sandy Relief effort. "Report: Sandy ruined 95,534 buildings on LI."
Brent M. January 08, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Crooked Nassau County and its Politicians ruined the Nassau Coliseum.. bottom line.. the property and area are worth millions! There is enough real estate and access to main roads and highways that would help out.. such a shame
Blaise Datsun January 08, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Living in East Meadow it's actually more convenient to get to the Barclay center and do something before and after an event than it is to drive over to the coliseum. Especially if you like to have a few drinks. The trains are easy, a cab to and from Bellmore station is cheaper than parking at the coliseum and who, really, ever stays at that shoddy hotel next to the coliseum?
Frank T January 08, 2013 at 01:42 PM
She used to be beautiful until Wang got his hands all over her.
Paul January 08, 2013 at 02:31 PM
I for one could care less if the Islanders move or stay. The team was run into the ground and nothing short of a miracle could change that. That being said, it is small thinking like that from our politicians that help create this mess to begin with. When the coliseum was first built, it was losing money until the the county sold the management rights. I personally think the county could make more money if we didn't have to pay the salaries of all the MINOR league politicians we have in office.
Beachguy January 08, 2013 at 08:01 PM
I believe the coliseum was originally built to seat 12,500 but was almost immediately outmoded . So gradually they improvised by adding seats so now I think it's around16,000 . That's why it's a dump. The concourses are too narrow, the lavatories too small etc. Actually it's a good place to watch things especially hockey. It's far better than MSG even with the so called upgrades with the upgraded prices.
Jon Weinstein January 08, 2013 at 08:54 PM
So well said, Mike. So well said. Just like those who said, this thing called an AIRPLANE will never fly, that thing called a TV has no future utility, and that machine called a COMPUTER s useless and will never be of value. Same type of short-sighted thinking
Brent M. January 08, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Are you sure Blaise.. bc the train ticket is how much now roundtrip.. around $19.. then about a $10 cab fare plus tip from Bellmore Train station to certain parts of the Meadow.. and you think this is cheaper then the $8-10 parking and walking 500feet to the coliseum???
Archie Bunker January 08, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Tear it down and build a replacement arena in its place -- It can be called the LIPA / LIRR Arena and will epitomize the failures on LI Of course, it will be over-budget and 5 years behind schedule
Eric Hornick January 09, 2013 at 06:53 AM
Certainly not the 24 event days that Barclays had. How many Islander dates did the Coliseum arena fill with other events. I believe the answer rhymes with HERO, which Maragos clearly is not.
Marc Rosen January 09, 2013 at 08:59 AM
There's a little something called a "statute of limitations" that restricts the timeframe in which said fines can be collected, the offense's "lifespan". For a traffic ticket, I'd wager that it isn't a very long lifespan.
delete me January 09, 2013 at 10:01 AM
George Maragos has no concept of how much money workers lose out not just in the area bars, restaurants, shops or whatever but in establishments that attract sports enthusiasts to their venues during games. Sports = televised. These other event = generally NOT televised. What a wanker.
Beachguy January 09, 2013 at 08:07 PM
The Islanders , whether you're a hockey fan or not, gave LI an identity as being more than just a bland suburban , bedroom community. It's an intangible but an important one. But now we will be able to see more wrestling and such.
Blaise Datsun January 10, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Just to clarify, I said the cab is cheaper than parking. The train to Brooklyn is more convenient than driving and the area around Barclay is more conducive to having fun and spending money. Nassau taxpayer seems to believe only someone faking a disability would enjoy these things. Don't be upset because your property value is 1/3 of what you dreamed it would be by now. It was overvalued by half in the first place. Secondly your comment regarding disability really says a lot about how bitter you are.
Brent M. January 10, 2013 at 05:30 PM
Again.. are you sure about the Roundtrip cab fare pluse tip to and from Bellmore Train station as compared to parking at the coliseum?? I get the having fun and spending money around the area of Barclay.. but Id rather spend the money in Nassau County.. paying around $50 ( Roundtrip train ticket, cab fare plus tip).. plus the extra time to get there via train, changing trains at jamaica and hoping the train is on time ... doesnt pay for me to say its better to go to Barclays.. with all due respect
Blaise Datsun January 10, 2013 at 08:31 PM
I'm just comparing the cab to the parking. It is only my opinion but I think the experience will be a lot of fun again, just like it was in the 80's. I had season tickets from '74 to '88. Was a member of the booster club. I remember Butch Goring's crazy small helmet. The team didn't win a lot in the 70's but it was always a good time. After all the owner swaps, free agents and parts of the coliseum falling off it just wasn't a team any more and the way the fans were treated we knew it definitely wasn't our team any more. The last 20 years of half empty seats and skyboxes, disgusting bathrooms, and the...people.
sadeto January 11, 2013 at 06:06 PM
Another proposal to develop the Coliseum site; how long will it take for this idea to get shot down by the TOH? http://longisland.news12.com/news/report-proposal-to-make-coliseum-a-biotech-campus-1.4435067?qr=1
sadeto January 11, 2013 at 06:39 PM
I saw an ad for an upcoming monster truck show at the Coliseum. I hope they can bring in a demolition derby too.

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