Brian Lewis reports that Mikhail Prokhorov is willing to sell Nassau Coliseum, home of the Long Island Nets and the New York Islanders. Previously, Lewis’ Post colleague Josh Kosman reported that the Russian oligarch would also be willing to sell Barclays Center to Joe Tsai as part of an expanded deal to give Tsai total control of the Nets and the arena.
Sources told The Post the Russian billionaire is looking to sell off control of NYCB Live, home of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. It’s part of the portfolio of properties held by his ONEXIM Group and run by BSE Global.
Though Barclays Center is largely considered the more attractive venue — and could turn a profit with the arrival of new Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — Prokhorov has “interested parties” looking to buy NYCB Live even without getting the Brooklyn arena along with it.
In addition to 51 percent of the Nets, BSE also owns Barclays Center, Nassau Coliseum and controls two other, smaller venues, Webster Hall in Manhattan and the Brooklyn Paramount Theater. Both those venues have undergone significant renovations. The Paramount, on the LIU Brooklyn campus, was expected to reopen this summer.
Although Prokhorov has agreed to sell his remaining interest in the Nets to Tsai, neither Barclays Center nor the Coliseum was part of the original deal announced in May 2018.
While The Post’s Kosman reported in March that Tsai was in talks to buy Barclays Center, Tsai later told Lewis that was not a foregone conclusion.
“I don’t know [if that will happen],” Tsai told The Post in May. “But I would say this: If you talk to all the NBA owners, they all say it makes a lot of sense to combine the ownership of a team and the arena.
“There’s a lot of synergy. The fans do come into the building to watch the team play, so from a business standpoint it makes a lot of sense. I hope that I would have an opportunity. But it’s up to Mikhail Prokhorov, who owns the arena, to figure out what they want to do.”
Tsai would also like to find a permanent home for his New York Liberty franchise. The Liberty currently plays its home games at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, which is a temporary arrangement. Tsai reportedly is not interested in either buying Nassau or having the Liberty play in Uniondale, far from his established fan base in the city.
Lewis reports that the sale of Nassau would presumably come with development rights to the vast swath of land around it. BSE won the rights last year. The plan, according to Newsday, calls for the construction of 500 units of housing, geared primarily toward millennials; 600,000 square feet of office and biotech research space; two hotels and 200,000 square feet of entertainment options and “experiential retail,” stores.
The Long Island Nets have played their home games at Nassau the last two years. The Islanders, which once called the Coliseum home, will play half its home games at Barclays, half at Nassau until their planned new home at Belmont Park is completed, which isn’t likely for at least another two seasons. The NHL has made it clear that it would not approve the renovated Nassau, with its diminished capacity and small number of suites, as a permanent home for the Isles.
- Nets owner is looking to sell control of Nassau Coliseum - Brian Lewis - New York Post