By Peter Schwartz
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For Islanders fans, the move from Nassau Coliseum to Barclays Center this coming season will certainly be an adjustment. After 43 years at the barn, change is in the air, and that includes an upgrade in fan amenities at the Islanders' new home.
One of those amenities will be a fantasy sports lounge presented by Draft Ops, an up-and-coming daily fantasy sports website that offers multiplayer and head-to-head matchup games. The lounge is just one piece of a multifaceted sponsorship agreement that will give the company visibility throughout the arena.
"It's a great partnership," said Michael Zavodsky, executive vice president of global partnerships for Barclays Center. "Utilizing the Islanders and this relationship to really launch their brands in and around the New York market is something that we're very excited about."
The lounge, located on the main concourse of Barclays Center, will give Islanders fans an interactive daily fantasy experience. When fans visit the space, they will be able to learn all about Draft Ops, browse fantasy stats and check out out-of-town scores on high-definition televisions and touch screen displays.
"We want to make it a fun experience for the casual fan, and we think that will ultimately benefit hockey," said Ron Doumani, CEO of Draft Ops. "We really want to engage the consumer and educate them, and go after the casual fan."
The lounge will educate visitors about fantasy sports, with the goal being to provide a better all-around experience for Islanders fans at home games. Draft Ops will also be developing and introducing a unique set of fantasy games for the casual sports fan during the upcoming season.
"It's an interactive experience where fans can go in and engage and interact with the brand," said Zavodsky. "We're always looking to create special and unique experiences, and we're very focused on the service at Barclays Center. That's something that we're excited about."
The fantasy sports lounge is just one part of the sponsorship agreement. The main element of the agreement is the Draft Ops Ice Club, which will be located on the west end of the arena directly next to the rink. There will be major branding extending from the glass through the five rows of what is being called the best seats in hockey.
Draft Ops will help provide a luxury hockey experience for fans who gather to watch one of the most exciting teams in the NHL.
"They have a great young roster," said Doumani of the Islanders. "To be involved with them in a state-of-the-art center like Barclays is going to be very exciting in their inaugural season (in Brooklyn), and I see nothing but a great future for both companies as far as us promoting the Islanders together."
Other components of the deal will see Draft Ops receive television-visible signage, in-arena LED signage, Zamboni signage and branding on the Islanders' press conference backdrop. Draft Ops will also be integrated into the team's statistics, which will be displayed in-arena and online.
Barclays Center has been waiting three years for the arrival of the Islanders, and now that wait has gone from years to months to just a matter of weeks.
"We're very excited," said Zavodsky. "They're coming to Brooklyn and they're bringing a great team. It's a young team that is certainly on the rise and we're very excited for hockey in Brooklyn."
The 2015-16 season marks the beginning of a new era for the New York Islanders. They bring their 43 years of history from the Nassau Coliseum to Brooklyn, where they look to create even more memories.
The barn on Hempstead Turnpike was a very special place for Islanders fans, but Barclays Center will have all of the modern amenities that the Coliseum was lacking. The deal with Draft Ops will give Islanders fans a fun, interactive activity to take part in when they come to games.
It's all part of a brand new experience for Islanders fans in their brand new home.
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