By Barry Janoff
November 5, 2016: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, NY, which was home to the NHL’s Islanders for 43 years and the ABA/NBA’s Nets for five, has been undergoing a $260 million renovation since August 2015, but is almost ready for its grand re-opening.
The debut will come with a plethora of new marketing deals and sponsorship alliances, led by marquee partner New York Community Bank, which has signed a multi-year naming rights pact that changes the venue’s official name to The New Coliseum Presented by New York Community Bank.
The deal also includes naming rights to a 77-acre plaza attached to the arena that will include shops, restaurants, a movie theater and a nightclub, which will be called "NYCB Live."
The Long Island Nets, a first-year team in the NBA's Developmental League, are scheduled to play in The New Coliseum beginning with the 2017-18 D-League season. The team this season plays in Barclays Center in Brooklyn, also home to the Nets.
Under new alliances, the venue’s initial four founding partners are Tri-State Ford (the official automobile of The New Coliseum and the Long Island Nets), JetBlue (the official airline of The New Coliseum), Long Island University-Post and TicketMaster.
National Grid has signed on as the official energy partner for The New Coliseum.
Hospital for Special Surgery signed a pact to become the official Hospital and Medical Director of the Long Island Nets.
Other corporate alliances include First Data, Geico, Long Island Marriott, Palm Bay Wine, P.C. Richard & Son, PepsiCo, Petro and Winter Bros. Waste Systems.
Levy Restaurants will oversee concessions and restaurants.
Marketing partners and sponsors will activate behind their alliances, including platforms in and around The New Coliseum.
Among them, JetBlue will be presenting sponsor for Long Island Show, the concert and major event programming franchise of The New Coliseum; Ford will be presenting sponsor of a Ford Parking Lot section and will display new vehicles on-site; and the main entrance and ticket box offices will be presented by TicketMaster.
Financial terms of the deals, including the New York Community Bank naming rights pact, were not disclosed.
The New Coliseum Presented by New York Community Bank is scheduled to reopen April 5, 2017, with a concert by Billy Joel. Joel also played the final event before the venue was closed for renovation on Aug. 5, 2015.
Nassau Coliseum opened in 1972.
Events already booked for the new site include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Xtreme, The Weekend and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame.
The renovation and marketing, sales and programming deals are being handled under the auspices of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which also oversees similar duties for Barclays Center and manages and controls the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, its Long Island Nets Development League team and the business operations of the NHL's New York Islanders.
The Islanders, which moved to Barclays Center for the 2015-16 NHL season, are scheduled to play some games in their former venue, where the franchise won four consecutive Stanley Cup titles (1979-1983).
Although the rebuilt arena will have only 13,000 seats for hockey, there has been talk that Islanders’ ownership might move the team back to Long Island when the currently lease in Barclays Center expires in 2019.
"By bringing together top notch financial services and world-class entertainment, NYCB is taking a leadership role ensuring Long Island becomes an even greater place to live, work and play," Andrew Kaplan, evp-retail products and services for New York Community Bank, said in a statement.
"For a long time we have enthusiastically supported our veterans, and NYCB is especially proud that this partnership provides a lasting tribute to Long Islanders who have served our country," said Kaplan.
According to Jamie Perry, vp-marketing for JetBlue, "As New York's hometown airline, we are excited to extend our partnership with Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment. Fun is one of our core values at JetBlue, and as a Founding Partner of The New Coliseum we will help bring quality concerts and entertainment back to Long Island.
"Through our dedicated activation space we will also bring the award-winning JetBlue brand experience to life for guests at The New Coliseum," said Perry.
After renovation, the arena will also have 13,500 seats for basketball and 14,500 for concert configurations (with the ability to flex up). The bowl will have a theater seating option for 4,000 guests.
Among those who played in the old Nassau Coliseum were Led Zeppelin, Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd, Queen, David Bowie, Metallica, Supertramp and Madonna.
ARTIST"S RENDERING COURTESY BROOKLYN SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT