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Nets-to-Newark depends on closing of the Izod Center

The Newark Star-Ledger opines on the chances of the New Jersey Nets moving permanently to Newark:
In the end, the Nets' fate will come down to money -- whether Ratner and his investors still have enough of it, and if they don't, what follows as Plan B.

What [Newark Mayor Cory] Booker really needs is the closing of the Izod Center, which would allow Newark and the Prudential Center to land the lucrative A-list concerts currently booked at the Meadowlands. That's where the real money is.

In other words, there's a whole lot of New Jersey politics involved.

More on the battle

The newspaper reports today:
Last week's announcement that the New Jersey Nets, who call Izod home, will play two preseason games at Prudential next fall fueled new speculation that the team will abandon a five-year quest to move to Brooklyn and make a deal to play basketball in Newark. At the same time, it reignited a debate over the competition between the state-operated arena in the Meadowlands and the new arena, nicknamed "the Rock," that was intended to spark a renaissance in the state's largest city.

"I believe we need to start looking at this as a regional issue," said Newark Mayor Cory Booker. "Ultimately having a very old arena and a new arena cannibalizing each other is just not a productive thing for our state."

Prudential Center officials say they are not at war with Izod, but it was always their expectation that Izod would close once the Devils and Nets left the Meadowlands.

That was sports economist Andrew Zimbalist's assumption, too.

Indeed, while the Nets pay between $50,000 and $60,000 a game as tenants, a concert date "can make five, seven, 10 times more than an NBA date for us," a spokesman told the newspaper.