Nassau Coliseum will be closing its doors indefinitely as Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports and Entertainment looks for investors to take over operations of the Long Island venue. The surprising news was confirmed by Newsday on Tuesday afternoon and raises questions as to where the Islanders will call home next season.
Bloomberg was first to report the news on Tuesday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Feb. 29 that the Islanders would play all of their home games next season at the Nassau Coliseum until their new arena at Belmont Park was completed. A few short weeks later the world came to a halt as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports leagues and businesses across the country.
The Coliseum, like other arenas across the country, has been shut down during the pandemic.
Onexim has told potential investors it would hand over the lease if the new owners would take on the nearly $100 million in loans on the property, Bloomberg reported. Onexim has a 49-year lease to run the Nassau Coliseum and Nassau County receives $4.4 million in annual rent.
The big concern for the Islanders now turns to where they would play next season. The team would return to play at the Barclays Center as per the 2018 agreement that allowed them to split home games between Brooklyn and Long Island.
The Islanders’ new Belmont Park arena is expected to open in time for the 2021-22 season despite construction being halted in March due to COVID-19. It has since started up again.
The Islanders last game at the Coliseum was a 3-2 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on March 7.