The New York Liberty are being moved to the Westchester County Center in White Plains as MSG looks to sell the team and the Manhattan Borough President is not happy whatsoever.
Madison Square Garden has announced that the New York Liberty will be playing their home games at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY, beginning this season. That is 30 miles away from New York City and it’s dedicated fans.
In 2017, the Liberty had about half of their home games draw at least 10,000 fans. The Westchester County Center seating capacity is 5,000.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer let it be known that this move is unacceptable. To prove her point she pulled out two big cards in her deck, women’s athletics, and money.
Brewer, as was reported by Jillian Jorgensen of the New York Daily News, wrote a letter to James Dolan of MSG saying in it,
In doing so, you have turned ‘the World’s Most Famous Arena’ into the world’s most famous stage for unfairly benching women athletes.
She then went on to question the validity of the $50 million tax abatement the Garden receives yearly. Brewer wrote that she and her fellow city council members thought the abatement was not a good policy. Brewer continued,
Shameful actions like this one, banishing a popular women’s professional sports team where it’s fan base cannot reach it, do not help your case.
The Madison Square Garden Company, the last original owner in the WNBA, believed the relocation is best for the Liberty as they look to sell the team. A team spokesman told Jorgenson,
We believe the Westchester County Center is the right sized venue to create an exciting environment for the Liberty.
MSG has said the Liberty will play “select games” at the Garden this season.
That a tough sell for most. From the bright lights of Broadway to what could be considered a 5,000 seat maximum capacity gym.