Venue News: Barclays Center an Option to Keep Islanders on Long Island

After Nassau County voters rejected plans to build a new arena for the New York Islanders, Barclays Center officials now say that the Nets’ future home could also host a professional hockey team.  The Brooklyn sports arena was originally intended to include hockey as a possible use, but the idea was scrapped two years ago when the building was redesigned to cut costs. Proponents of the deal point out that a move to Brooklyn would allow the Islanders to keep their current deal with the NHL, which requires the Islanders to remain on Long Island. Opponents argue that, just because the building could support an ice rink, does not mean that the arena would meet NHL standards. The venue is designed to hold 18,000 seats for basketball, but could hold only 14,500 for hockey, which would make it the smallest arena in the NHL. The Islanders drew an average of just over 11,000 fans per game last season…

… Nashville Superspeedway is closing, and the future of NASCAR-sanctioned racing in Middle Tennessee, an area staple since 1958, is in jeopardy. Financially troubled Dover Motorsports, parent company of Nashville Superspeedway, announced that it will not seek to host NASCAR-sanctioned races in 2012, effectively ending its operation as a racing facility. The closing of Nashville Superspeedway by Dover Motorsports is the third such financial move by the company within the past three years. In 2009, it closed and sold Memphis Motorsports Park, and last year, it closed Gateway International Raceway in Madison, IL. Each of those tracks also hosted Nationwide and Camping World races. The Nashville Superspeedway, located in Gladeville, TN, opened in 2001, and has hosted NASCAR Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series events since its inception. The rack also has held IndyCar and Indy Light races through 2008, as well as a few lesser racing events…

… HSBC Bank USA plans to reduce its presence in upstate New York, but sports marketing experts say that the bank does not necessarily want out of its naming rights deal at HSBC Arena, home of the Buffalo Sabres. HSBC’s ties to the team date back more than 15 years, when the team’s home was known as the Marine Midland Arena. According to experts, the bank would still get national exposure from networks and newspapers across the country that cover the Sabres, regardless of HSBC’s presence in Buffalo. A more likely scenario would be the addition of new corporate sponsors to the arena. HSBC has shown no indication that they want to give up their naming rights; the bank’s naming rights contract runs through 2027…

… A Los Angeles council committee voted unanimously Wednesday to endorse the financial framework of an agreement between Anschutz Entertainment Group and the city to build a new $275 million wing of the Los Angeles Convention Center and the attached Farmers Field – a $1.2 billion football stadium and events center. The full city council will vote on the proposal next week. The nonbinding agreement would need only a simple majority to pass and the deal’s biggest critic expects it to be passed unanimously. An actual deal with the city is still about a year from becoming a reality, with the completion of an environmental impact report not expected until the spring. AEG is hoping to begin construction on the project in June 2012, with Farmers Field opening in Sept. 2016.

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