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Nassau Coliseum may see concert surge later this year

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Nassau Coliseum may see a surge in the number of concerts that it hosts late this year and early next year, according to a report from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.

The IDA hired consulting firms Camoin Associates and RMG SportsVentures, which conducted the 13-page report last month to forecast the Coliseum’s economic impact once coronavirus pandemic restrictions lift.

The consultants predicted that demand for live music would surge in the fall of 2021, during which Madison Square Garden, the Barclay’s Center and other large music venues are booked with acts that had to reschedule during the pandemic. Such high demand could “create a short-term positive” for the Coliseum by drawing in more acts that could not secure a spot at the larger venues, according to the report.

The Coliseum may not see the same success with hockey games, however. The Islanders are expected to start playing games at the Coliseum this month, if the 2020-21 NHL seasons commences. Then, in late 2021, the team will relocate to its new home at the UBS Arena at Belmont Park. The report states, however, that “it is not clear whether there will be in-person attendance, and at what capacity, for games at either location.”

The consultants developed the report from a series of interviews conducted in November with executives and officials from the music and sports industries. The report does not take into account other events that the Coliseum offers, such as LI Nets basketball games and family entertainment shows.

All of the consultants’ findings depend on the venue’s ability to meet certain Covid-19 guidelines, such as proper ventilation, vaccination availability, and rapid testing of employees and talent.

The report also states that the Coliseum is “a second-tier venue” and may have a slower economic recovery than the larger venues like MSG and the Barclay’s Center. Once the pandemic ends, the consultants predict, it may take another four to six months before the Coliseum is back to normal.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Coliseum generated about $4 million in annual revenue to the county.

In August, the Coliseum’s former tenant, Onexim Sports and Entertainment, defaulted on payments and handed control of the arena and the Nassau Hub development to its lender, the U.S. Immigration Fund, which is running the Coliseum under the name Nassau Live.

The deal reached between the two parties recovers $2.2 million in overdue rent owed to Nassau County by Onexim, which temporarily shuttered the Coliseum two months before because of the toll the venue took from coronavirus restrictions.

USIF is based out of Jupiter, Fla., and run by Nick Mastroianni II. Although not directly tied to the U.S. government, USIF created a $100 million loan for the Coliseum renovation, soliciting 200 Chinese investors through a federal program that grants visas for job-creating projects.

Bruce Ratner, owner of Forest City Ratner, sold the Coliseum lease to Onexim in 2015 and developed the financing program. Mastroianni then secured the loan under another company called Nassau Coliseum Funding 100.