2006-11-17 / Sports

MSG Forms Partnership With Aviator Sports Complex

By Elio Velez

The banners for the Madison Square Garden, Aviator Sports and the New York Rangers, Knicks and Liberty are unfurled inside the basketball gymnasium. Photo by David Bernstein. The banners for the Madison Square Garden, Aviator Sports and the New York Rangers, Knicks and Liberty are unfurled inside the basketball gymnasium. Photo by David Bernstein. The Aviator Sports Complex at Floyd Bennett Field continued to pick up steam in its first year of business. After opening up in the late spring, the private-public 170,000 square foot center has created enough attention that Madison Square Garden has joined up with the ownership of Aviator in a press conference announced last Thursday.

Cablevision, who owns Madison Square Garden, joined the ownership of Aviator to further its brand and promote future marketing opportunities. MSG did not announce specific details in terms of money and how much they have purchased into Aviator's ownership, which is a private-public partnership with National Parks Service.

Madison Square Garden brought out their cavalcade stars to the press conference as MSG Network host Al Trautwig was joined by former New York Knicks all-star John Starks, Rangers' former hockey legends Adam Graves and Rod Gilbert and N.Y. Liberty guard Loree Moore.

Above: MSG Network television host Al Trautwig (center) hosted the press conference as he was joined (left to right) by MSG Sports President Steve Mills, MSG Vice Chairman Hank Ratner, Aviator Chairman Steven Gluckstern and Gateway National Parks Superintendent Barry Sullivan. Photo by Peter Borriello. Above right: The entrance inside the Aviator Sports Complex has a rock climbing wall (left). Photo By David Bernstein. Above: MSG Network television host Al Trautwig (center) hosted the press conference as he was joined (left to right) by MSG Sports President Steve Mills, MSG Vice Chairman Hank Ratner, Aviator Chairman Steven Gluckstern and Gateway National Parks Superintendent Barry Sullivan. Photo by Peter Borriello. Above right: The entrance inside the Aviator Sports Complex has a rock climbing wall (left). Photo By David Bernstein. Aviator's chairman and principal owner Steven Gluckstern and Gateway National Parks Service Representative Barry Sullivan was also on hand.

Glcukstern has lots of experience with sports and Cablevision as the former owner of the New York Islanders in the late 1990's. Madison Square Garden Vice Chairman Hank J. Ratner believes the partnership will quickly benefit both parties.

"We (MSG) want to utilize our position to bring value to Aviator and strengthening our brands as a whole." Ratner said.

"We want to use our energy and passion to bring Aviator into the MSG Family."

MSG's invasion into Aviator is intended to increase business and interest for fans in the outer boroughs. What they did not say was that it might have been a preemptive strike into attracting future fans before the proposed Nets move into downtown Brooklyn gets approved.

Aviator's hardwood courts will have the New York Knicks logo in place and the two NHL regulation size ice rinks will have the Rangers logo in center ice.

Aviator, which opened earlier this spring with the FDNY-NYPD football game, has opened their indoor facility, which includes the ice rinks, basketball floors, dance center, fitness center and a food court, which should be completed in a few weeks.

Former NHL Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert, 1994 Stanley Cup Champion Adamn Graves and current Ranger Jed Ortmeyer hosted a clinic on one of the two brand new ice rinks. Aviator should see a spike of interest and attendance for people who had to travel to either skate or play hockey in Long Island, Chelsea Piers or At Abe Stark Rink in Brooklyn.

Adam Graves, who works in the Community Relations Department for the Rangers, says that families will benefit from the many options presented at Aviator.

A worker at Aviator Sports' indoor gymnastic center does a demonstration. Photo by Peter Borriello A worker at Aviator Sports' indoor gymnastic center does a demonstration. Photo by Peter Borriello "As a parent, I have two children, you can take one child on the ice and you can take another for rock climbing or gymnastics. It's a multi faceted facility where you can take your entire family and they can be doing different things, or the same thing and enjoying themselves at the same time," Graves said.

"To have it in a area when you come here it will energize you. Just as I'm proud to wear the jersey of the Rangers and an original six team, it's a part of tradition and the same type of tradition

is what they (Aviator) are trying to do here."

Former New York Rangers Adam Graves left) and Rod Gilbert (right) conducted an ice clinic with Xaverian Junior varsity hockey team at Aviator Sports. Photo by Peter Borriello. Former New York Rangers Adam Graves left) and Rod Gilbert (right) conducted an ice clinic with Xaverian Junior varsity hockey team at Aviator Sports. Photo by Peter Borriello. Current New York Rangers player Jed Ortmeyer tries to put a move on the Xaverian JV goalie. Photo by Peter Borriello Current New York Rangers player Jed Ortmeyer tries to put a move on the Xaverian JV goalie. Photo by Peter Borriello The ceremonial first basket was scored by former Knicks player John Starks (pictured left) inside Aviator Sports' brand new basketball gymnasium. Hank Ratner, Steve Mills, N.Y. Liberty guard Loree Jones, Steven Gluckstern and Barry Sullivan join Starks at the podium. Photo by David Bernstein. The ceremonial first basket was scored by former Knicks player John Starks (pictured left) inside Aviator Sports' brand new basketball gymnasium. Hank Ratner, Steve Mills, N.Y. Liberty guard Loree Jones, Steven Gluckstern and Barry Sullivan join Starks at the podium. Photo by David Bernstein.

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