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Nets begin Islander marketing push, hoping Long Island is the next frontier

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Barclays Center

On Thursday, the Islanders will take the Long Island Rail Road to Brooklyn where they will hold training camp sessions at their future home, Barclays Center. Islanders players and coaches will pose for a group photo with Bruce Ratner and Brett Yormark on the Daily News Plaza in front of the arena at 9:40 a.m., before preparing for the team’s first-ever practice on the arena ice.

Never suggest that Brett Yormark will ever miss a marketing opportunity. Even though the Islanders aren't scheduled to move to Brooklyn until 2015, the Nets/Barclays Center management has taken over business operations for the NHL team, the Isles are accepting season ticket deposits for 2015-16 and the Islanders play the Devils at Barclays on September 21. The push is on ... and the Nets are hoping for some cross-pollination.

Brian Erni of SNY sees hints that the Nets will use the Islanders to woo fans from Long Island. Last season, despite having the LIRR Atlantic Terminal station across the street from the arena, only about 10 percent of fans at Nets home games came from Nassau and Suffolk.

"The Islanders fan who is only a casual basketball observer now has a built in reason to like the Nets. The Nets’ and Islanders’ crosstown rivals share a building, meaning unless you grew up a die hard Knicks fan, there’s now a sense of kindred spirits among these two franchises."

Erni of SNY Nets notes some other subtle shifts, like creeping black-and-white in the Islanders' marketing.

"The term ‘A Shift in Power’ has begun popping up, first on the Islanders’ website last week, then as the team’s photo on their Twitter account. The slogan is in the Nets’ font in white, dropped onto a black background. The push towards marketing synergy has begun."

Meanwhile, the New York Observer reports on the importance of the Islanders to the arena bottomline. Forest City Enterprises, Bruce Ratner's parent company reported this week that the arena's financial picture will "be fully stabilized in 2016, the season the Islanders move in.