Sunday, May 31, 2009

Devils owner far less bullish than Newark mayor about Nets moving to The Rock

Though Newark Mayor Cory Booker is a huge cheerleader for a potential Nets move to Newark, it appears that New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek, operator of the Prudential Center, is more concerned about having the competing Izod Center close so the Rock can attract lucrative concerts.

The Record reports:
The Nets basketball team continues to play at Izod Center on a year-to-year basis as it awaits groundbreaking on a proposed new arena in Brooklyn. Asked if he would rather the Nets move to Brooklyn or to Newark, Vanderbeek replied, "Personally, I guess I would marginally rather see the Nets in Newark."

The team's financial experts are "about 50-50" on whether the added revenues and public attention for the arena from Nets games would offset losing some flexibility for the Devils on desirable weekend home dates, Vanderbeek said. He said the uncertain fate of the Nets has allowed state officials to postpone making a decision on Izod's future.

"I just want the Nets off the fence," Vanderbeek said. "The biggest problem for us is that the Nets are being used as a pingpong ball [by the sports authority]. For a while they wanted to throw them out, then they love them."


The numbers

The Record reports:
Vanderbeek said closure of the Izod Center would boost the Prudential Center and the Devils' collective bottom line by at least $10 million annually, with about $2 million of the new money going to Newark. The monopoly on North Jersey arena offerings would bring the Devils from a loss of a few million dollars annually to around break-even or better, Vanderbeek estimated, depending on postseason success and ticket sales.

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