UBS Arena has made tremendous progress with its infrastructure, its programming, events, and partnerships. In just one year, the venue has not missed an opportunity to host some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment. Like anything, there have been true fans from the start and venue neighbors who will never be onboard with the “new kid on the block” and people at various stages of commitment to the establishment.
Anton Media Group had a chance to speak with Kim Stone, president and executive vice president of Oak View Group East Coast about UBS Arena’s first year.
“Every month we are making new advances, seeing more and more people, getting our share of the market.” Stone said. “It’s nice to see the growth.”
Stone has been at the helm for three months at UBS Arena.
“It’s been a wonderful onboarding experience,” Stone said. “There’s a lot to learn about the venue itself; a lot to learn about the community.
There has been a lot to learn about the various events and the marketplace, just being a student of all of that.”
With more than 100 events hosted in the first year, grossing more than $60 million, highlights include two Harry Styles concerts within the first six months of operation—both of which were immediate sellouts, along with an additional 16 full-house shows including Imagine Dragons, Genesis, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, multiple Twice shows, Sebastian Maniscalco, Eagles, John Mayer, UFC, Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone and Iron Maiden.
“This is the typical part of the life-cycle of opening a new building,” Stone said. “I think what we are doing over time, how we conduct ourselves and how we show that we are committed to the community, that we have a dedication to guest services and the experience.”
She said that it takes time for people to realize that the arena’s vision is unfolding as promised.
“When we opened we made all these promises about the experience and how we would be a good part of the community,” Stone said. “And now people are watching as we make good on those promises. We are keeping our promises.”
She said that is how you start to continue to grow people into being advocates of the venue.
“The Islanders won eight out of their last 10 games, currently in third place in the Eastern Conference,” Stone said. “Winning brings people to the venue. When they come to the venue we want to make sure they have a great experience.”
Guest experience at UBS Arena is the highest priority, always evolving to make sure fans are provided a world class experience through service and amenities.
“The marketing team did some good research and what we found is that once people come to UBS Arena for the first time and have that great experience–all the modern amenities, big wide concourses, state of the art equipment, everything is top notch—once you come, we become one of your preferred venues in the metro New York area,” Stone said. “Once people have been here and experienced us, they want to come back; that is so important to us.”
The unveiling of the arena’s three sensory rooms this summer helps provides accommodation to those that have family service and sensory needs so that everyone can experience the enjoyment of live entertainment.
Additionally, the expansion of the venue’s food and beverage program leading into the anniversary included bolstering the selection of locally inspired fare along with adding family-friendly options while also elevating stadium fan favorites.
Outside the venue, on site improvements include the opening of the new Belmont Park Garage that features Park Assist and Find My Car kiosks, expanded car lanes to aid with traffic flow, as well as Electric Vehicle trams to provide shuttle transportations support.
“Campus improvements that have been made to the overall area since we opened a year ago include the new Belmont Park garage,” Stone said.
The parking garage is located on the south side of Hempstead Turnpike, directly across the street from the arena.
“It has aided in the traffic flow for fans,” Stone said.
Parking and the train situation were two big guest and community complaints in the beginning.
One of the biggest successes of the year is the integration of the train via LIRR onto the campus. Elmont-UBS Arena, the first new LIRR Station built in nearly 50 years, offers fans the opportunity to have direct access to the venue.
“It’s the first new station for the LIRR in nearly 50 years,” Stone said.
The station opened just ahead of the building’s official grand opening last year, but the unlocking of two-way service at the station began in early October 2022. This provides fans both eastbound and westbound service across the LIRR network to get to and from the venue. Various direct lines have access to the arena, including a 30-minute train ride from NY Penn Station and a 10-minute ride from Jamaica.
“This will unlock even further reliance on transportation options for guests coming to and from our venue,” she added.
UBS Arena and Belmont Park
“We are friendly with the NYRA team,” Stone said. “We have had a good relationship with them throughout the build. We are excited for their plans, and the value of what that can unlock in the area.”
She added, “In the future we can have a situation where we become a sporting and entertainment destination. You are going to get this wonderful synergy that is happening. Our goal is to remain good partners, have strategic conversations where they make sense and see what we can do to unlock value for the racetrack, ourselves, the ownership group and the broader community. It’s very important that we do it in a harmonious way.”
Stone said that the community has been receptive to sitting down at the planning table.
“The Islanders and UBS Arena have community liaisons who are making sure that we are keeping people informed, we are having the right meetings and conversations. We are very intentional about it and we are very much in touch with the local community.”
The arena continues to hire from the Elmont community, keeping committed to its opening promise.
“We understand our value in being good stewards of the community. We take that seriously.
Sustainability is a core part of the UBS Arena values.
“That shows our commitment to, not only the community, but to the environment.
Stone says that it is just as important to them today as it was in the planning phase of the area.
To help offset the building’s environmental impact, UBS Arena has achieved carbon neutrality for all scope 1 and 2 emissions from operations. Through the purchase of carbon and renewable energy credits, the arena has reached this milestone two years ahead of schedule. This milestone makes the venue the first arena to do this on the eastern seaboard.
UBS Arena is a Founding Circle Member of GOAL (Green Operations and Advanced Leadership), a program that provides venues with clear guidelines to minimize negative environmental impact while amplifying social impact.
Visit www.ubsarena.com to learn more.