New York Islanders

The New York Islanders rank second-to-last in the NHL in attendance figures, but Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark isn’t worried.

By Justin Weiss

“The area we continue to work at is ticket sales,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark told Neil Best of Newsday. “Am I pleased with playing at 77 percent capacity and at 12.1 [thousand]? I’m fine with that. I’m never satisfied. My personality is I’m relatively a happy person, but never satisfied. I want more, and we’re going to be aggressive in getting more.”

How is he going to do that?

The answer is fairly simple, or at least that’s what Yormark says. “We must broaden the fan-base,” he told Michael Kay on ESPN Radio before the season began. “We must reach out to Brooklynites and areas beyond Brooklyn in order to grow this fan base, in order to make this very viable.”

Yormark’s thinking is simple, and it should work – but to a very limited extent. The way to broaden the fan base isn’t to change traditions or cater to these fans. It isn’t to try to engross a basketball-oriented borough in hockey, especially considering that most of the hockey fans in the area belong to the Rangers.

The way to do it is simple: have the New York Islanders win hockey games.

For nearly a full decade, the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum failed to regularly sell out. Despite the stadium’s location in Nassau County, people were uninterested when the Isles lost. They were, in all essence, fair-weathered fans.

Sure, the 2014-15 season was the team’s last at the ‘Ol Barn on Hempstead Turnpike. But at the same token, it was the team’s first dominant season in quite a few years. The team won, and the fans came.

Brooklynites are bound to come to games, but it will only happen when the Isles win. Just like the Flushing faithful started showing up to Citi Field when the Mets began their fantastic run to the World Series, Isles fans and Brooklyn natives alike will flock to the Barc when the team begins winning.

It can’t happen soon enough.

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Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.