Nets to play in Newark until move to Brooklyn
Associated Press Writer
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – The New Jersey Nets have reached a deal with the state to move their regular-season games to Newark’s Prudential Center for two years until their arena is built in Brooklyn.
Under the deal, the Nets will pay a $4 million penalty over two years to get out of their lease at the Izod Center in the Meadowlands.
The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority voted to approve the deal Thursday morning. Details of the arrangement were announced Thursday afternoon by Gov. Chris Christie’s office.
“This is a good agreement for the Nets and a good agreement for New Jersey,” said Jon Hanson, who chairs a governor’s gaming, sports, and entertainment commission and who worked on the deal.
It has not been determined when the Nets will begin playing in Newark. The team is planning to move to Brooklyn by 2012.
Officials have long tried to broker a truce between the competing venues; while the Nets play in East Rutherford, the New Jersey Devils call Newark home.
The deal means that the Devils, Nets and Seton Hall all will be playing in the Prudential Center.
“The Nets, Devils and Seton Hall all played at Continental when it was called that and it wasn’t a problem,” said Devils owner Brian Vanderbeek, referring to the old name of the Izod Center. “I am confident if they came here it would work out fine.”
The agreement reached Thursday contains a non-disparagement between Izod and Prudential, with the Newark arena focusing on sports and the Izod Center concentrating on concerts and family shows.
As part of the agreement, the $4 million penalty can be offset by various credits, including up to $250,000 each year for the guarantee of proceeds to benefit the Newark Symphony Hall; up to $100,000 each year for the leasing of two Prudential Center suites to the Sports and Exposition Authority, one during Nets games and one during general events; and, up to $100,000 each year in advertising credits.
The Nets played two preseason games in Newark, the state’s largest city, both drawing far more than usual at the Izod Center. The announced crowd for their 96-92 loss to New York on Wednesday night was 15,721.
AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan in East Rutherford, N.J., contributed to this report.