Welcome To Rivalry Week

This week for the first time since 1988 we will see three intracity rivalries at once. The Jets will face the Giants, the Knicks will face the Nets, and the Rangers will face the Islanders. And as a special bonus, the Rangers make their first ever trip to Brooklyn tonight.

It will be very interesting to see how things go at Barclays tonight. Through 14 home games, the Islanders are only averaging 78.4% of their tickets sold. That’s 27th in the league and about what they did in Long Island before they announced they were moving to Brooklyn. (For comparison sake, the Nets are averaging only 79% this season, but they averaged 94.9% in their first season in Brooklyn.)

What’s the reason for the difference between the reception for the Islanders and the reception for the Nets? I have two theories.

1- Basketball is a much more popular sport than hockey. Both the Nets and Islanders came into a market with established teams, but the Nets had a better chance of pulling in the casual fan because there were more of them.

2- The Barclays Center  was not built to hold hockey, so it is not a symmetrical arena and one side of it offers obstructed seating in a lot of places. There are seats where you can’t see the goal, or you are facing away from the goal.

Perhaps it is a combination of both, and perhaps we need to wait until the season is over to see if attendance ticks up, but it is strange that the Islanders are not packing the building. That’s what makes tonight such an interesting game, how will the crowd split? Tickets are averaging over $200 to sit in the lower level, so maybe we won’t be able to draw any sold conclusions, but let’s listen to the crowd and see which team they are pulling for.


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  • blmeanie  On December 4, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Seriously? A “not very old arena” has obstructed view seats for anything it may hold? I get that it may not have been built for hockey but isn’t it less than 10 years old? How does it have obstructed view seats or seats not facing the playing field? Confused.

    • nysportsfanatic  On December 4, 2015 at 8:19 am

      I think it is because of two factors. When they built Barlcays, the Islanders were committed to Long Island and building a project called The Lighthouse there. That led the designers not to plan for hockey. Second, we already had MSG, Nassau Coliseum, Izod Center and Prudential Center in the metropolitan area, so there really wan’t even the potential for ice shows to go to Barclays. The Nets were going there, so basketball was the main and only focus.

      Therefore, the designers built an arena that is a great place to watch a basketball game. The seats are all angled toward mid-court. But when they had to carve out a hockey arena, they literally had to cram it into one end of the place. You can get a good idea for it here if you compare the basketball and hockey seating charts.

      Another weird part of the configuration is that for hockey, the scoreboard hangs over one of the blue lines and not at center ice.

  • blmeanie  On December 7, 2015 at 8:29 am

    so is it a permanent home for the Islanders or temporary while they build something else?

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