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Is Nets’ lack of Coliseum date a contractual issue for Nassau?

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Long Island Nets

When the Net preseason schedule was announced last week, there was something missing. Unlike 2017, the Nets aren’t scheduled to play a home game at Nassau Coliseum. In fact, of the four preseason games, only one will be played at Barclays Center.

Jim Baumbach, who covers Nassau Coliseum for Newsday, points out that violates an agreement between BSE Global, the Mikhail Prokhorov holding company, and the county.

“[T]he arena operator is contractually obligated to host one annually,” Baumbach wrote Wednesday, referring to the operating contract BSE Global, formerly Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, has with the county. The contract gives BSE operational control of the renovated arena.

Baumbach quotes a spokesman for BSE saying the NBA’s decision to reduce the required number of preseason games as the reason the Nets won’t be playing a preseason game at the Coliseum.

“With the Nets playing three of four games on the road, there was only one remaining home game to schedule and that is taking place at Barclays Center,” Mandy Gutmann, the spokeswoman for BSE Global, told Baumbach.

Baumbach countered by noting the Nets played a preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Coliseum in 2017. That year the Nets also played only four preseason games, including two games in Brooklyn.

So how’s this getting resolved? Apparently, the county is willing to accept “alternative programming,” not further described, Baumbach reported. The Nets’ G-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, do play 25 regular season games at the arena, but to very sparse crowds.

Norman Oder, critic and chronicler of BSE’s operations, notes, this is yet the latest in a number of changes in the sports component at Nassau Coliseum, topped of course by the bizarre split schedule the Islanders will be playing the next few years. The Isles will play home games at both Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum until their new arena at Belmont Park is completed.

BSE was also obligated, Oder points out, to bring a minor league hockey team to the Coliseum but that never happened. The Long Island Nets were substituted.