On Long Island, One And Not Done

NYCB Live plans marketing campaign to follow up a big first year

  • by Noelle Riley
  • Published: April 11, 2018

NYCB Live: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum had a strong year after a $180 million reboot.

NYCB Live: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., boasted a successful first year since reopening after a $180 million renovation that was completed last April. Venue officials are now looking forward to a new ad campaign targeting the local community and the return of the NHL’s New York Islanders for regular-season games.

The venue, originally built in 1972, hosted a number of big-name acts in the last nine months of 2017, helping make it the highest-grossing venue in North America last year with a capacity of 10,000 to 15,000 seats, as ranked by VenuesNow.

Formerly operated by SMG, the venue is now managed by Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment after it submitted the winning bid alongside the developer, Forest City Ratner Cos., in 2015.

“In many ways the renovation spoke for itself,” said Keith Sheldon, executive vice president of programming for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which also manages Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“The first thing we wanted to do when it reopened was reinvent our future,” Sheldon said. “We wanted the biggest and best artists and the hottest family shows. I think we were able to accomplish that.”

The 416,000-square-foot arena reopened April 5, 2017, with a sold-out show by Billy Joel. Sheldon pointed out the venue earned its spot among 2017's top-grossing venues despite not being open for the first three months of the year.

“We got started in April, so we let a few other venues have a head start. I think we were able to do all the things we wanted to accomplish in year one,” he said.

Next season, the New York Islanders will play 12 home games at NYCB Live, bringing a Long Island sports team back to its roots, said Gina Antoniello, communications manager for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment.

Being able to announce earlier this year that the Islanders would return to the coliseum was one of the venue's bigger accomplishments, she said. “We’ll have 12 home games beginning this fall, and we’re splitting the season with Barclays Center.”

The arena was home to the Islanders from 1972 to 2015, the year the venue closed for renovations. The Islanders relocated to Barclays Center during the construction.

Also on the horizon is the new marketing campaign. Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment will work with outside ad companies as well as its in-house ad team on a campaign called "Long Island Love," advertising the venue on digital billboards, inside trains that run to and from New York City and across social media, Sheldon said.

“What we heard from our content providers is how great the experience is inside the building,” Sheldon said, highlighting how the community really enjoys the arena’s new “guest experience.”

“We want to let everyone know that Long Island is open for business. We wanted to figure out a way to bring the Long Island community” back into the venue, he said. 

Roughly an hour and a half east of NYCB Live in Suffolk County is a newly announced $1 billion development that includes plans for a 17,000-seat arena. It’s called the Ronkonkoma project and includes housing, retail and mixed-use development.

The announcement of the proposed new venue will not detour Sheldon and his team at NYCB Live, he said.

“These things pop up all the time,” Sheldon said. “As you think about it as a venue operator, you really can’t concern yourself on what might be coming down the line in the future. You have to ensure you have a great relationship with your content community and ensure you’re creating great platforms in the coliseum.”

  • by Noelle Riley
  • Published: April 11, 2018