HD TV has made watching sports from the comfort of our homes a lot more fun in recent years, but it still doesn’t compare to watching your favorite sports team play live in a stadium. That is, provided your team is playing in a stadium that actually suits the sport. The New York Islanders moved to Barclays Center in Brooklyn this year, and many fans have complained that the stadium—which was created for basketball—has obstructed their views of the hockey team. So Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark has some pretty unique advice: he wants fans to watch the game while at the game on their mobile devices.
You can watch the game on your mobile device. The game is on the scoreboard. There are many ways to view the game if you’re in one of those obstructed seats. We aren’t going to be able to change the seats in the building. That is what it is. But there are certainly other ways we can enhance the experience.
Sure, a good portion of being at the game is simply being privy to the crowd fervor, the chants and the cheers. However, the other main component to paying good money for an actual ticket to the hockey game is being able to see that game from a different vantage point than the one offered by the TV. It’s an insult to tell fans to pay good money for a ticket for a seat that doesn't even offer them a chance to see the game.
He later went on to tell Sports Illustrated that there’s really nothing the that Barclays Center plans to do:
Our seating capacity is over 15,700. Within that capacity there’s a lot of great seats. Do we have some obstructed seats? Yes we do. Are fans aware of those obstructed seats before they purchase them? Yes they are. There’s really nothing we’re going to do from a capital improvement standpoint.
It would be costly to make changes to the Barclays Center, and clearly Brett Yormark is not even considering going there. However, when he was point blank asked about the obstruction in views, he could have put out an olive branch to fans and at least sympathized with their annoyance in some capacity. After all, many Islanders fans are already pretty fired up about a variety of issues, including but not limited to the commute from Long Island, the relatively small maximum number of hockey tickets, the schedule that includes a low number of Friday and Saturday home games and of course, the view problems. But nope, mobile phones are his only answer and consideration.
It's not Brett Yormark's fault that the stadium wasn't built with hockey games in mind, but it is his problem to deal with now. Unfortunately, it looks as if Islanders fans will still have problems watching the games in Brooklyn for some time to come.