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UBS lands naming rights to Islanders arena

Swiss financial services company UBS has acquired naming rights to the under-construction new home of the New York Islanders NHL ice hockey franchise in a deal worth a reported $275m (£216m/€237m).

The 19,000-seat venue, which is scheduled to open in time for the 2021-22 NHL season, will officially be known as UBS Arena at Belmont Park through a 20-year deal agreed between the two parties.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but Sportico, citing a person familiar with the agreement, reported that it will be worth a minimum of $275m.

UBS will benefit from permanent exterior signage at the arena, entitlement to the venue’s largest premium private hospitality space, and prominent UBS logo placement on the roof, centre ice and throughout the arena. UBS clients and employees will also be granted extensive VIP hospitality opportunities at the arena, which is being built on land adjacent to the Belmont Park horse-racing facility.

Tom Naratil, co-president of UBS Global Wealth Management and president of UBS Americas, said: “We are excited to announce this long-term partnership with the New York Islanders and are proud to play a role in creating one of the country’s premier sports and entertainment venues.

“The New York City area is home to our Americas headquarters, thousands of our employees, and more UBS clients than any other US market. We have deep roots in the tri-state area and a fundamental commitment to growing our presence in the US. This is an opportunity to demonstrate and accelerate that commitment, while having a positive and lasting impact on the surrounding community.”

The Belmont Park project and surrounding redevelopment will cost $1.5bn and is expected to generate around $25bn in economic activity, including infrastructure improvements, 10,000 construction jobs, and 3,000 permanent jobs.

The project will seek to fill 30 per cent of UBS Arena’s permanent jobs with local workers. A further $100m investment in transit and infrastructure enhancements has also been committed, including the first newly-constructed Long Island rail road station in almost 50 years.

Tim Leiweke, chief executive of Oak View Group and leader of the arena project, added: “UBS Arena is poised to become a global landmark entertainment and sports destination, leading us to partner with one of the world’s premier brands, UBS.

“Together we’re eager to deliver on our shared promise of helping reinvigorate the New York economy, creating jobs, supporting a sustainable future, and safely providing an unrivalled, distinctive premium experience for all. We’re excited to bring our passion and unmatched guest service commitment to life, and we look forward to welcoming fans to what will surely become a popular global destination for world-class events for many years to come.”

UBS Arena is also being built to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED v4) standards for building design and construction.

The Islanders last month revealed details of the executive team that will oversee the arena project, with Tom Pistore and Hank Abate appointed as president of commercial operations and president of arena operations, respectively. Charles Groneman was also named as the arena’s chief financial officer, while Zachary Klein and Lea del Rosario have taken up roles as general counsel and senior vice-president of human resources, respectively.

The Islanders were forced to pause work on the project in March due to COVID-19. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the team was splitting home games between Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island.

Images: UBS