So if you’re New York Islanders owner Charles Wang, and you just witnessed your plan for a taxpayer financed arena get get voted down, what do you do now?
Financing a new arena privately is very doable, but expensive. Moving to another market? Not a great option. You’re not going to find the demographics in Kansas City, Hartford, Quebec or anywhere else that you have on Long Island. And the biggest factor of all: television. Back in 1999, as the local cable sports landscape was beginning its metamorphosis into team owned stations like the Yankees’ YES Network, the Islanders inked an extension with Cablevision all the way through the 2030-31 season, for rights fees that escalate from roughly $14 million a year initially to a reported $36 million by the last year of the deal. The contract is the Islanders’ most valuable asset, one they’re unlikely to duplicate in another market.