Thursday, December 10, 2009

Temporary (at least) move of Nets to Newark gets closer, as Izod-Rock deal emerges

The New York Times reports, in an article headlined Possible Truce Between New Jersey Arenas Could Come at a Cost to Fans:
New Jersey sports and music fans could soon have to pay a surcharge to see Devils and Nets games and concerts. A complex deal is being brokered to end a landlord-tenant dispute as well as a price war between the arenas at the Meadowlands and in Newark, according to multiple people involved in the negotiations.

The two arenas, the aging Izod Center at the Meadowlands and the Prudential Center in downtown Newark, have been undercutting each other to attract bands and other acts since the Prudential Center opened in 2007, state officials say.

To end the fight, Jerold L. Zaro, Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s economics czar, has brokered a deal to move the Nets to the Prudential Center, cementing the privately run building as the dominant indoor sports venue in New Jersey. It would in turn cede many of its nonsports events — rock concerts and family shows like the Ice Capades — to the Izod Center, which would become an entertainment hub.
Interestingly enough, it's elected officials from Bergen County, home of the Izod Center, who are grousing that the deal is a bailout for the Prudential Center.

What about the Nets?

But it's the Rock that would have the iffy tenant:
The Nets, who have been losing tens of millions of dollars a year, would avoid paying a $7.5 million penalty to the Izod Center for breaking their lease to move to Newark. They would also pay a significantly lower per-game rental fee, and earn a share of suite revenue they generate at the Prudential Center. The Devils and the Nets would also sell ticket packages together. New Jersey officials, who hold out hope that the move to Newark’s gleaming arena could help keep the Nets from moving to Brooklyn in 2012, said a performance clause in the proposed deal would require that the team spend minimum amounts on player salaries and marketing as long as they remain at the Prudential Center.
Nets officials said they wouldn't comment on a possible Newark move until bonds for the Brooklyn arena are sold--expected this month.

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