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Reason Rangers Were Road Team for Stadium Series
- Updated: January 29, 2014
The NHL’s Stadium Series at Yankee Stadium just concluded with a New York Rangers 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.
If you didn’t notice, the Rangers, who are the most popular hockey team in the Metropolitan area, were the designated road team for both games.
That was no accident, and as it turns out, the Rangers were literally afraid to be the home team.
Here’s why. According to a New York Times article, back in 1982, Madison Square Garden was granted an exemption on paying taxes based on one condition. The condition, “If one or both of said teams (Rangers and Knicks) shall cease to play their home games in said property (Madison Square Garden) at any time, the tax exemption provided herein shall cease immediately and said property shall immediately be restored to the tax rolls.”
That tax exemption is worth 17.3 million dollars in fiscal year 2014, and if the Rangers were the “home team” for the Stadium Series, there was legitimate concern that the Garden would lose its tax exemption and have to pay the $17.3 million dollars.
Then New York City Mayor Ed Koch granted the Garden the tax exemption in an effort to keep the Knicks and Rangers in the city. At the time, there was a threat both teams would make the trip across the Hudson River to the Meadowlands following the construction of “Giants Stadium”.
The exemption was originally supposed to only last 10 years, but an error by the lawyers in the case made the exemption “exist in perpetuity”, meaning as long as the Knicks and Rangers played its home games at MSG which they still do.
Who woulda thunk it?