As the New York Islanders gear up for the National Hockey League playoffs starting Aug. 1, the name of their future home at Belmont Park was made official Wednesday, when UBS announced its exclusive 20-year arena naming rights agreement for the cutting-edge entertainment and sports venue.
UBS Arena, projected to open for the 2021-22 NHL season, will host more than 150 major events annually, and Irving Azoff, chairman of the Azoff Company, which represents recording artists, expects it will draw musicians such as Harry Styles, Bruce Springsteen, Billie Eilish and Billy Joel.
He spoke to various managers about what features they thought would draw musicians to the arena, which will include two separate backstage areas for musicians and the Islanders, and eight bars where fans can watch a game. It will also include a designated place for rideshare services, to help improve traffic leaving the events, according to Jon Ledecky, co-oner of the New York Islanders.
“It’s going to be a place where you want to bring your family and spend a day,” Brian Hull, executive vice chairman of the Americas for UBS, said at a virtual town hall on Wednesday.
The project is expected to create 10,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs, generating approximately $25 billion in economic activity over the term of the lease.
The roof was being installed on July 22, and officials expected it to be fully-enclosed by the end of the year.
“New York is our home,” said Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, and leader of the arena project. “We wanted to put New York back on its feet.”
The $1.5 billion private investment into the arena and the overall surrounding campus will provide a significant boost to the regional economy at a time when economic activity has slowed due to the pandemic. The project will also inject much needed stimulus into the New York economy and the local community, with the goal of filling 30 percent of UBS Arena's permanent jobs with workers who live in the surrounding area.
Additionally, 30 percent of contracting dollars for construction will also be earmarked for state-certified minority and female-owned businesses, and 6 percent will be earmarked for service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. An additional $100 million investment in transit and infrastructure enhancements, including the first, newly constructed Long Island Rail Road station in almost 50 years, will benefit local residents and visitors for decades to come.
“The New York City area is home to our Americas headquarters, thousands of our employees, and more UBS clients than any other U.S. market,” Tom Naratil, co-president UBS Global Wealth Management and president of UBS Americas, said in a statement. “We have deep roots in the tri-state area and a fundamental commitment to growing our presence in the U.S. This is an opportunity to demonstrate and accelerate that commitment, while having a positive and lasting impact on the surrounding community.”
UBS Arena will also commit a significant philanthropic investment to drive economic redevelopment and strengthen the local community. The primary focus of these efforts will be on improving college and career readiness for local youth by providing programming related to post-secondary education and entrepreneurship, both of which are longtime cornerstones of UBS's community impact efforts across the Americas region.
“UBS Arena will stand as a beacon of strength, resilience, achievement and community, and we look forward to celebrating this milestone with our loyal fans,” Ledecky said, noting that the venue will feature the highest number of lower-level seats in the NHL. “We're thrilled to be partners with UBS on this transformational project that will be so important to the New York economy for decades.”
Other specific elements of the agreement with UBS include permanent exterior signage, entitlement to the Arena's largest premium private hospitality space, and prominent UBS logo placement on the roof, center ice, and throughout the venue. The exterior and interior will pay homage to iconic New York landmarks, including Grand Central Terminal, Prospect Park Boathouse and the Park Avenue Armory. Complementing UBS Arena, Belmont Park's campus will comprise 315,000 square feet of luxury retail and will include a 4-star boutique hotel with up to 250 rooms.