The New York Islanders are scheduled to move to a new home at Belmont Park for the 2021-22 season. (Courtesy New York Islanders)
Oak View Group has opened a New York office to help the NHL’s New York Islanders bring their business operations back in-house and launch the marketing platform for their new arena at Belmont Park.
The office, situated at 21st Street and Broadway in Manhattan, is part of Silicon Alley, a tech-heavy district. Thirty-five employees spread among OVG’s facilities and global partnership divisions and Islanders sales staff will staff it.
Peter Luukko, co-chair of the Arena Alliance, a group of about 30 big league buildings doing business with OVG, and Evan Levine, vice president of OVG Global Partnerships, will head up the office. (Oak View Group is also the owner of VenuesNow.)
They’re working closely with Islanders owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky to rebuild the team’s business operations, Luukko said.
Over the past five years, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, parent company of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, has run the Isles’ business side. The move came two years before the team began playing its home schedule at the Brooklyn arena.
That has begun to change after the development team of OVG, the Islanders and real estate firm Sterling Properties, owned by New York Mets owners the Wilpon family, won a bid in December to build a new arena as part of the state’s strategy to redevelop 113-year-old horse racing facility Belmont Park.
OVG New York is the first step toward consolidating those efforts.
“We’ll be assisting the Islanders to build up a staff for that transition and many of those people will be ‘officed’ here in Manhattan,” Luukko said. “We’ll be filling those positions through the transition period, which will be throughout [the 2018-19] season.”
The new arena is targeted to open for the 2021-22 season.
OVG will market and manage the new 18,000-seat arena, which includes selling premium seats, naming rights and founding partnerships, Luukko confirmed. The arena is part of a $1 billion project that also includes mixed-use development.
OVG plans to open a preview center in New York, but it has not been determined whether the center will be in Manhattan or Long Island, Levine said. The Islanders were founded in 1972 and played home games at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., for more than 40 years.
As part of the arena development deal, the Islanders have committed to playing about half of their home games at their rebuilt former home, NYCB Live: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, over the next three seasons. They’ll play the balance of their home schedule at Barclays Center until they move to their new facility.
At this point, the development is going through government approvals. No date for groundbreaking has been established, Luukko said.