Venue News: Islanders To Play Preseason Game at Barclays Center; Safeco Field Installs Solar Panels

With the New York Islanders’ future in Uniondale looking as tenuous as ever, the speculation about a potential move to Brooklyn intensified with the announcement this week that the team will play a preseason game Oct. 2 against the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. The exhibition game will be the first NHL game played at Barclays, which has been speculated as a potential landing spot for the Islanders once their lease at Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015. The Islanders have been trying for years to build a new arena to replace the antiquated Coliseum on Long Island. Residents in Nassau County were asked in August 2011 to approve a plan to borrow $400 million to construct a hockey arena and minor league ballpark, but the public referendum failed. Barclays Center has surfaced as a logical destination for the downtrodden team that would keep it in the New York metropolitan area. The main knock on Barclays Center — home of the New Jersey Nets starting in the 2012-13 season — is the limited capacity. Fitted to accommodate approximately 14,500 for hockey, it would be the NHL’s smallest…

…The Seattle Mariners are installing 168 solar panels on two structures tied to Safeco Field, one of the greenest facilities in sports. The MLB club invested $300,000 for the solar system made by Sanyo, a longtime Mariners sponsor. The solar panels will be mounted on the roof of a skybridge connecting the ballpark to a parking garage and on the garage elevator canopy. The panels, expected to produce 40,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually, will help power four new electric vehicle charging stations next to the parking garage, according to Scott Jenkins, the team’s vice president of ballpark operations. Those charging stations, installed in November and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, can recharge a vehicle battery in two to six hours. The club expects to have the solar panels installed by April 13, the date of the Mariners’ home opener…

… Broward County commissioners overcame concerns about a lopsided deal for taxpayers and gave the Florida Panthers a $7.7 million loan Tuesday for arena renovations. The Panthers’ sister company, Arena Operating Company, plans to plow the millions back into the county’s BankAtlantic Center on 1 Panthers Parkway in Sunrise, constructing a new club and mini-suites for top-dollar customers. The arrangement also increases the profits the Florida Panthers organization can reap before Broward receives a share to use elsewhere in the county. The Panthers’ request – not the first financial request from the team over the years – was hotly debated because of long-simmering frustration that Broward has shelled out tens of millions for the arena and reaped little profits in return since it opened in 1998. The Florida Panthers organization netted $117.4 million from the county arena over that time, according to the county auditor…

…The state take-back of redevelopment money has forced Oakland to abandon plans for a waterfront ballpark — the linchpin of efforts to keep the A’s in the city. According to Gregory Hunter, head of the soon-to-be-dissolved Oakland Redevelopment Agency, the city can no longer afford Victory Court without redevelopment dollars. That means the focus is solely on revamping the O.co Coliseum complex with retail, restaurants, hotels, and new sports facilities for the Raiders and Warriors. The plan would include a new ballpark for the A’s if the team stays in Oakland. The city has already selected a team of consultants to conduct an environmental impact review of the Coliseum site, the first step in the planning process. But the dissolution of Oakland’s redevelopment agency also has complicated their contract. The A’s are eager to move to San Jose, where an EIR already has been completed on a proposed ballpark, but that project still faces several hurdles…

…The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission unveiled a plan Wednesday that calls for $124 million in improvements to the Edward Jones Dome in hopes of making sure the city doesn’t lose another NFL team. The commission had faced a Wednesday deadline to deliver the plan to the St. Louis Rams, which leases the dome. The lease requires the dome to be “first tier,” or among the top 25% of all NFL stadiums in several categories. If not, the Rams can break the lease after the 2014 season and potentially move. Owner Stan Kroenke is a Missouri native, but has been non-committal about staying in St. Louis. With Los Angeles organizers actively seeking a team, St. Louis fans are worried the Rams might leave, just like the Cardinals did after the 1987 season.