The Izod Center (formerly called Brendan Byrne Arena) was finished in 1981, the home of the New Jersey Devils features a lot of amenities that other NHL teams dream about. There are concourse-level luxury boxes, wide concourses, state-of-the-art scoreboards and plenty of concession stands.
The most impressive feature of the arena, however, is its size. It feels like you're inside a canyon when entering before the crowds file in. But the seats won't be empty for long. The team's popularity is spreading through the Jersey suburbs and even into New York.
(From Newark Airport) Take the New Jersey Turnpike North to Exit 16W (Sports Complex). Once you have exited, follow signs for the Sports Complex. The arena will be in front of you.
(From New York City) Take the George Washington Bridge to the New Jersey Turnpike (local or express lanes). Exit 16W (Sports Complex) to the arena.
(Bus from New York City) Port Authority Bus Terminal, located at 42nd and 8th. Take New Jersey Transit. Buses leave 2 hours before game continuously, and return up to 1 hour after the game. $3.25 one-way fare. 20 minute travel time. For more information call 212-564-8484.
The Will Call window is number 17 and located in the Box Office Lobby at the South Entrance of the arena (right under the Continental
Airlines Arena sign).
Izod Center history
* First regular-season game: Oct. 5, 1982, 3-3 tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins
* First goal: Don Lever, Devils
* First playoff game: April 9, 1988, 3-0 over the New York Islanders
September 1997 - The body that oversees the Izod Center is sinking $40 - $80 million into renovations, including more luxury boxes and expanding the building's main restaurant.
JERSEY SPORTS AUTHORITY HOPES TO KEEP MEADOWLANDS INTACT
July 8, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures
The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) hopes to keep the NHL Devils and NBA Nets in a venue in the Meadowlands, but if not, the Authority will move ahead with a plan for a
retail and entertainment venue on the Izod Center site. The comments were made by Dennis Robinson in an interview with the Associated Press. Robinson is leaving the Authority's top position to join the NBA.
Both the Nets and Devils have announced plans for new, separate venues while the NJSEA has its own proposal for a new arena. The issue is awaiting a decision from Gov. Christine Whitman. The Meadowlands is also facing the potential loss of the Jets who are being courted by New York City and were recently put up for sale. The Authority has a proposal from a private investor to buy the Monmouth Park race track, which the Authority also manages.
Robinson believes the best place for the Devils and the Nets is in the Meadowlands and says that wherever they go, they should share a venue. The Authority has plans to install grass permanently in Giants Stadium, if current tests prove worthwhile, and could add more luxury suites to the stadium if there is demand.
THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
January 20, 2001 - Opened in 1981, The Continental Airlines Arena is the home to the NHL New Jersey Devils and the NBA New Jersey Nets, as well as to the Seton Hall Pirates college basketball team and numerous minor sport franchises. The facility was also home to the NCAA mens basketball Final Four in 1996. This arena is part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex which includes Giants Stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack. The building is surrounded by expressways and surface parking. There is no adjoining neighborhood and no ambience around the facility whatsoever - just pavement. The building itself still looks somewhat futuristic and modern, with the corporate name emblazoned across the roof and a tall dot matrix marquee along the highway.
|Continental Airlines Arena Ranking by USRT|
|Fan Support|| 2|
|Concourses/Fan Comfort|| 4|
|Bonus: Sly the Mascot|| 2|
|Total Score|| 35.5|
If you enter at the ground level where the ticket offices are, there you will find a handsome display of the New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame. The wide single concourse which surrounds the building is all skylit to the outside, providing ample natural light during the day. Concession stands and merchandise venues are very bright and attractive. We could not find a main team merchandise store, but there is a ground floor restaurant/lounge called Winners for premium ticket holders.
Being an 80's arena, there are no club seats, but there are some suites at the top of the 100 level.
The arena bowl is broken into two levels, both accessed from the single concourse. A four sided scoreboard with video boards is in the center, and there are four additional video boards hanging from the rafters in each corner. In each end zone are two huge dot matrix boards, and along the balcony are small information boards for out of town scores, shots on goal, etc. From a distance this information was hard to see. The bowl itself is vertical and cavernous, and does not lend itself to an intimate feel at all, especially with oceans of empty seats at the Nets game (the Devils game was a sellout).
The best item we could find was the hand carved sirloin and turkey sandwiches. A tall draft beer is still only $3.00!
The Devils proudly display their two Stanley Cup banners along with smaller divisional titles. The Nets have 5 retired numbers and two ABA titles..(have we not seen all 10 ABA title banners between here and Indiana???) sadly for them, their best days were played when they were on the Island and their icon was a man named Dr. J. Also, Seton Hall has banners honoring their '89 run to the Final Four along with Big East title winners. Finally a banner honoring Ashbury Park, NJ's contribution to the popular music world, The Boss- Bruce Springsteen.
We will try to keep this short... we were given major hassles by the Nets people, and this was regarding the same problem we have had in some other venues..namely, the quest to take a simple picture of the playing surface and logo from the center 100 level seats. The ushers would not let us pass.. we went to "customer service" for assistance, explained who we were and our project, only to encounter four scowling faces who were unsympathetic and told us to "write a letter". We did manage to take our photos after the game, only after some skullduggery on our part to get downstairs for our shots, and as we were finishing up, we caught the sight of a security guard and two ushers from the corner of our eyes, converging on us as they were talking into their walkie talkies. We hightailed it out of there fast! Our suggestion to the New Jersey Nets is this... why don't you guys furnish each of your ushers and your customer service people at Gate A with a mean german shepherd on a leash. That would complete the scene nicely.
Things that Caught our Eye - in each section there is an alcove leading to the bowl. Outfitted in every alcove is a television monitor mounted from the ceiling. Fans returning to their seats and waiting for a whistle miss nothing. Nice, nice touch! We are amazed that we have not seen this done anywhere else.
"Sly's Candid Camera"
Sly is the mascot for the Nets, and they produce a hilarious clip modeled after the old Candid Camera show. In the skit we saw during a media timeout, Sly was in a shopping mall pretending to be a mannequin. Every time a child or a teenager ventured closeby he lunged after the kid. The fans were in stitches! Allen Funt would have been proud.
Sly's House. Sly has a set out in the concourse. Children can line up and have their picture taken during halftime. Nice photo op for the fans.
This arena is a classic example of what was expected of a sports facility during the time that it was built. Number one, to get fans into the building and into their seats to watch an event and give them the ability to purchase basic necessities such as concessions, souvenirs etc.. (Unlike today's more modern facilities that offer a more complete interactive entertainment and shopping experience). Number two, the in-house revenue is to come from those who buy tickets to watch from the main seating areas. While today we see more and more of an emphasis on club seating (almost non-existent at the time) and many more suites all with its amenities (in seat customer service, opportunities for fine dining and the like) Finally, the idea that an arena is simply a structure and the main event being held within its confines is the attraction. Unlike today in which the newer facilities are as much a part of the experience as the events themselves. There is talk about a new building here, but it will be a while yet before a shovel goes into the ground. If you are looking for the ultimate NHL or NBA experience, we would definitely steer you away from the Continental Airlines Arena.
VANDERBEEK CALLS FOR IZOD TO BE RAZED
June 4, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Newark, N.J. - New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek believes his Prudential Center in
Newark should be the region's primary arena and has called up the New Jersey Sports and
Exposition Authority to close the Izod Center in the Meadowlands.
NJSEA officials said they were disappointed at the comments, especially after talks with
Vanderbeek who indicated them he wanted to work together.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo have joined
Vanderbeek in calling for the closing of the Izod Center suggesting the land would be better used
as a convention center.
Vanderbeek said that the Izod Center is a drain on taxpayers because it loses at least $10
million annually - a figure disputed by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which lists
about a $1 million annual profit. Vanderbeek said those figures are based on an overly generous
set of accounting figures, including a failure to fully factor in administrative expenses.
In an interview with the Bergen Record's editorial board, Vanderbeek reportedly said he was
only marginally interested in hosting the NBA Nets which now play at the Izod Center and are
hoping to move to a new arena in Brooklyn.
The Devil'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.
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.
DEAL COULD RESOLVE RIVALRY BETWEEN NEW JERSEY ARENAS
December 10, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Newark, N.J. - A new deal could position the Prudential Center in Newark as a sports venue
and the Izod Center in the Meadowlands as an entertainment venue under a new plan being worked out between the owners of the two arenas.
The deal reportedly would see the Nets move from the Izod Center to the Prudential Center while the Prudential Center would agree not to bid for entertainment shows sought by the Izod Center. Both facilities, which are only a few miles apart, have been bidding against each for the shows, making it difficult for either to make money.
The Prudential Center is owned by the NHL New Jersey Devils while the Izod Center is owned by the New Jersey Sport and Exposition Authority. To make the deal work, the owners would create a new venture, Jersey Presents, which would schedule events and divide revenues.
The venues would also levy a ticket surcharge of $1 for sports events and $3 for other events. The money would be divided between the venues under a formula still being devised.
The Nets, which 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 hope the move to Newark's newer arena could help keep the Nets from moving to Brooklyn in 2012. 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.
The Nets say they are focused now on arranging financing for their Brooklyn arena. That must be in place by the end of the month or they will lose state money needed for construction. Team officials say they will consider a move to Newark after that deal is done.
The agreement is also expected to please businesses around the Izod Center which have been working hard to make sure the venue doesn't close. As a rule, those who attend entertainment shows at the Izod Center tend to utilize area restaurants and other businesses more than sports fans.
One other constituency may be needed to pull the plan off: the New Jersey legislature.
If the new fee is added by the venues, the money becomes taxable. However, if it is ordered by the legislature, it becomes tax-free. Governor-elect Christopher Christie is opposed to the surcharge, so to avoid his veto, the legislature must act before he takes office Jan. 19.
Legislators have already started arguing about the fee with some calling it a bailout for the Prudential Center and others saying it's a state subsidy for Newark.
NETS' MOVE MADE OFFICIAL
March 11, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Newark, N.J. - The New Jersey Nets have made it official and say they will be moving to the
Prudential Center in Newark for two years while their new arena is under construction in Brooklyn. The team now plays at the Izod Center.
The Prudential Center, also known as the Rock, has been angling to take the Nets from the Izod Center for years, but the team would have faced a $7 million penalty for breaking their lease with Sports and Exposition Authority. Former Gov. Jon Corzine was close to waiving the fee when Gov. Chris Christie was elected and the deal was shelved. By late February, Christie announced a deal had been brokered to release the Nets from Izod for $4 million, some of which could be paid in advertising, suite revenues, and other credits.
IZOD BENEFITS FROM MSG RENOVATION
July 21, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
East Rutherford, N.J. - While the landmark Madison Square Garden is closed for renovations
this summer, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Rihanna and a host of other musical acts are making Jersey home, according to the Newark Star Ledger.
The Prudential Center in Newark and the Izod Center in East Rutherford are seeing an increase in concerts as artists seek replacement dates while the New York arena is shuttered. The Prudential Center also landed the New York Liberty, the women's basketball team that is playing its home games in Newark.
The combination is making for a bustling summer in Newark, Rich Krezwick, president of Devils Arena Entertainment, the company that manages the Prudential Center, told the newspaper.
"It's definitely busier than in recent years and we can certainly attribute a portion of that to Madison Square Garden being closed," Krezwick said.
In addition to 18 home games of the WNBA's Liberty, The Rock is hosting Swift for four nights this month - the longest stand since Bon Jovi opened the Newark arena in 2007. The Newark venue also presented the NBA draft last month, another event that had to move from the theater at the Garden, where it was held for nearly the past decade.
The Garden will close this summer and the next two for a major renovation that is estimated to cost more than $775 million. The three phases of the project will allow the arena's sports franchises Ð the New York Rangers hockey team and the NBA's Knicks Ð to maintain their home schedules while the arena gets an overhaul. The seating will be replaced, suites will be added and current ones improved, the concourses will be widened and a new scoreboard installed.
Officials at the Izod Center in East Rutherford said the schedule includes a few more shows in June and July as well as nine rehearsal dates for Paul McCartney, who is prepping for his upcoming stadium tour.
"We, as well as other buildings in the area, may have benefited to the tune of a few shows each," James Minish, executive vice president of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, the state agency that operates the Izod Center, told the Star Ledger.
Both the Izod's Minish and Prudential's Krezwick also note that the Garden's closure is only one factor. More shows are touring this year than last year, and Prudential's train link to Manhattan has helped it get some of the Garden's leftovers.
IZOD CENTER GAVE "KICKBACKS" TO PROMOTERS
January 19, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures
East Rutherford, N.J. - The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority kicked back millions of
dollars to the nation's largest music promoters over the last five years in an effort to lure top acts to the Meadowlands, according to documents reviewed by the Newark Star-Ledger.
Details of the deals were revealed only after state courts forced the authority to release hundreds of contracts signed with performers ranging from Britney Spears to Jay-Z. The orders came because of a legal battle by the Star-Ledger to examine the now-public documents.
The newspaper said the contracts themselves spelled out a litany of special terms and accommodations for big grossing concerts like Bruce Springsteen and family shows like The Wiggles. The newspaper said "they cast a new light on the highly competitive and secretive industry where no one talks about deals that have been cut."
The confidential rebate agreements represented more than $3.3 million in never-disclosed give-backs to promoters over a five-year period, and do not appear on any financial settlement sheets that give performers an accounting of a show.
The Star-Ledger said most of the money went to Live Nation, the biggest concert promoter in the United States, which received $2.9 million in rebates on its rental expenses since 2007 - including more than $830,000 last year alone for concerts at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, the authority reported. That amount came off total arena event income of $22 million.
Live Nation spokeswoman Liz Morentin declined comment to the newspaper.
Richard Barnet, co-author of "This Business of Concert Promotion and Touring" and a professor at Middle Tennessee State University, said the Live Nation deal was indicative of the significant power now wielded by the company.
"They call it rebates. I call it kickbacks," he said.
Barnet said Live Nation buys an entire tour, giving the company a lot of power in negotiations, allowing the promoter to dictate terms of the deal or threaten to go to another city.
There is nothing illegal about the rebates, which have become widespread in the industry.
Ron VanDeVeen, who books the Izod Center for the sports authority, said the incentive program grew out of efforts by Live Nation to enter into co-promotion deals with venues to cut its risk. The proposal called for venues to pick up half the costs of a show, in exchange for a cut of the gate.
"We're a state agency. We did not want to take that risk," VanDeVeen said.
Instead, he said, a deal was reached in which the authority would rebate money to the promoter on a sliding scale, based on how many concerts Live Nation brought to the Meadowlands. More concerts means a higher per-ticket rebate.
James Minish, the sports authority's executive vice president, said the program has been very successful for Izod. "It's given us more shows," he said.
Under its agreement with the authority, Live Nation receives a $4- to $6-a-ticket rebate for each concert booked into the Izod Center. In exchange, the promoter agreed to "priority scheduling rights" for certain Live Nation concerts.
A spokesman for the authority said there were incentive programs negotiated with both Live Nation and AEG Live, the country's second largest promoter. AEG, which received $265,000 in rebates over three years, was given a rebate of 50 cents to $1 on a portion of the facility fee, according to the spokesman. AEG now books for the Prudential Center in Newark and the Izod agreement has since lapsed. AEG did not return calls from the newspaper for comment.
John Scher, CEO of Metropolitan Talent in New York and a long-time Jersey promoter, was surprised at how much Live Nation was getting from the sports authority.
"Strong-arming is alive and well," said the often outspoken Scher, who brings his own shows to the Meadowlands and has received incentive payments as well from the authority. However, the amount of money Live Nation was getting under its agreement with the sports authority was surprising to Scher, who only received $1 a ticket off the facility charge.
"At the end of the day, it all comes out to more money for the presenter; less money for the Sports Authority," he said.
According the Scher, rebates have become common in the business. Even the circus, he said, plays the game, insisting on a take of the concessions before it will book an arena.
"You want Ringling Brothers, we get the Sno-Cones. If you don't want it, we won't play there," he said. "And I've seen the circus go head-on and just not play (certain) arenas."
In fact, an addendum to a Ringling Brothers contract with the sports authority from 2007, which extends to circus and ice shows through 2012, gives Ringling sole and exclusive right to sell Sno-Cones, cotton candy, popcorn and s'mores.
The contracts examined by the Star-Ledger showed the authority typically charged $80,000 plus expenses to rent the Izod Center in East Rutherford - a number that would float up or down based on the kind of event being hosted, the promoter, or the expected draw of the act. The authority also received a $3.50 facility charge per ticket.
The artist typically took all of the gate, except in cases where the authority took a share of a show. In nearly all cases, the authority retained all parking revenues, and usually concession revenues as well.
"We've never lost money on a concert," Minish said.
According to authority officials, the arena has not lost money since 2006, and estimates show a $2.2 million profit for 2011. The entire Sports and Exhibition Authority, however, is deep in the red because of heavy losses in horse racing and the disappearance of revenue from Giants Stadium.