It is an interesting article and the first I have found that looks at the entire market and all of the arenas – even has a bit on the Red Bulls Arena.
He did however miss the proposed renovation to the IZOD center which is unfortunate. The proposed renovation to the IZOD couldn’t be more pertinent to this article. Although other arenas have been and are being built nowhere else in the market do you have two arenas in close proximity, in the same state vying for the same market.
This is not simply the story of two big league ballparks built in one environment and opening in another, though that would bear watching, even by itself. No, this is about an entire sporting city under construction, a place where the hard hat is running neck-and-neck with the ball cap, as no fewer than half a dozen teams try to make good on billions of dollars in facility upgrades at a time when purse strings are pulled tight.
Here’s an excerpt specifically about the Pru Center:
Across the river and down the road in Newark, the New Jersey Devils are wrapping up their second season in the $375 million Prudential Center.“First-mover advantage, baby,” is what Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek says when asked about the benefit of opening 1 1/2 years ahead of the ballparks and even further ahead of everything else.
The longer the recession drags on, the more thankful he is to have broken from the gate first. His major sponsors are locked in long term, and all of his club-seat and suite leases run at least through 2010. And yet, even Vanderbeek turns queasy when contemplating the fallout if the recession were to drag on.
His season-ticket base of about 8,000 is 5 percent to 10 percent short of where he thought it would be this year. He expected to fill about five more suites and book another $1 million in sponsorships. He worries that next year could be worse.
“We’re OK so far, but, look, the risk is there,” said Vanderbeek, who headed private equity and strategy for Lehman Brothers before buying the Devils. “We have 4,000 tickets less than $30, but at a lot of levels this is a high-priced ticket. And the higher end is where the question is. What will hold up? Who will hold up? We’re going to find out.”