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Meadowlands Arena
The Meadowlands
IZOD Center
Location: 50 Route 120
East Rutherford, New Jersey 07073
Flag of the United States United States [1]
Former names: Brendan Byrne Arena
(1981–1996)
Continental Airlines Arena
(1996–2007)
Izod Center
(2007–2015)
Owner: New Jersey Sports
and Exposition Authority
Operator: New Jersey Sports
and Exposition Authority
Capacity: 20,049 (NBA Basketball)
20,029 (NCAA Basketball)
19,040 (Hockey)
20,000 (Concerts)
7,500 (Theater concerts)
Construction information
Broke ground: February 2, 1979
Opened: July 2, 1981
Closed: April 3, 2015
Construction
cost
:
$85 million
Tenants
New Jersey Nets (NBA) (1981–2010)
New York Cosmos (NASL Indoor/MISL) (1981-1985)
New Jersey Devils (NHL) (1982–2007)
Seton Hall Pirates (NCAA) (1985–2007)
New Jersey Red Dogs/Gladiators (AFL) (1997–2002)
Fordham Rams (NCAA) (2011)
Floor design
New Jersey Nets
(1998-2010)
New Jersey Nets logo

Meadowlands Arena (formerly Brendan Byrne Arena, Continental Airlines Arena and Izod Center) is a closed indoor arena facility located in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States. The arena is located on New Jersey Route 120 across the highway from MetLife Stadium (as well as the former site of its predecessor, Giants Stadium) and the Meadowlands Racetrack, next to the American Dream shopping and entertainment complex.

The arena, which opened in 1981, was originally built to accommodate the New York/New Jersey Nets basketball team that relocated to New Jersey. The arena was originally named after then-Governor Brendan T. Byrne. In 1982, the Colorado Rockies hockey team joined the Nets in the new building and became known as the New Jersey Devils. The Nets and Devils were joined by the Seton Hall Pirates men's collegiate basketball program in 1985.

In 2007, the Prudential Center opened in nearby Newark, to where the Devils relocated. Seton Hall, whose campus in South Orange is closer to Newark than East Rutherford, followed and moved their basketball games there. The Nets remained at the Meadowlands for three more seasons before moving to Newark, where they played two seasons before departing New Jersey for Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The men's basketball team from Fordham University played four home games during the 2010–11 season at the arena.

Following the departure of all three of its major tenants, the arena continued to host occasional non-sporting events, such as touring shows and concerts, and other local events. The state-owned facility reported losses for 2013, and was projected to have $8.5 million in losses for 2015. On January 15, 2015, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) voted to shut down Izod Center, and have Prudential Center acquire hosting rights to events scheduled for the arena over the next two years in a $2 million deal.

Since closing, the vacant arena is used as a rehearsal venue for large-scale touring concert productions as well as a sound stage for video and television productions. Since 2018, NBC has leased the venue to film prime-time drama series, including The Enemy Within and Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector. It is also home to the crime drama series The Equalizer, starring Queen Latifah.

History[]

Construction on a new arena across Route 20 (now 120) from Giants Stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack began in 1977. The arena was designed by Grad Partnership and Dilullo, Clauss, Ostroki & Partners and was constructed at a cost of $85 million. Originally named Brendan Byrne Arena (after Brendan Byrne, the sitting governor of the state, who was also a member of the ownership group seeking to bring an NHL team to the State), the arena opened July 2, 1981, with the first of six concerts by New Jersey rock musician Bruce Springsteen. This was followed by an ice show later that month. While the official name of the arena was "Brendan Byrne Arena," on television it was usually referred to as "The Meadowlands."

On October 30, 1981, the New Jersey Nets, who had played their previous four seasons at the Louis Brown Athletic Center at Rutgers University while the arena was being built, relocated to the Meadowlands and made their Brendan Byrne Arena debut, losing to the New York Knicks, 103–99. Later that season, on January 31, 1982, the NBA All-Star Game was hosted at the arena. Shortly after, the New Jersey Devils, relocated from Colorado, playing their first regular season game there on October 5, resulting in a 3–3 tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On January 4, 1996, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority announced a naming rights deal with Continental Airlines (now United Airlines) under which the airline, with a hub at nearby Newark Liberty International Airport, would pay the NJSEA $29 million over 12 years. As Continental Airlines Arena, it hosted the 1996 Final Four—the last Final Four to date that has been held in an arena specifically built for basketball.

On May 5, 2007, the Devils played their last game at the arena, losing 3–2 to the Ottawa Senators, eliminating them from the Eastern Conference semifinals 4–1. Scott Gomez scored the final goal in the building. The Devils subsequently relocated to the newly constructed Prudential Center in nearby Newark, New Jersey at the beginning of the 2007–08 NHL season.

Following the Devils' final season at the arena in 2007, Continental Airlines opted out of the naming rights agreement. A new agreement was made with Izod, a company, to rename the arena Izod Center. The company will pay $1.4 million per annum for the first two years of the agreement, when the Nets left, it dropped to $750,000 per year for the balance of the five-year deal.[1] The columns of the arena's exterior were also repainted red as the arena assumed a new color scheme.

On February 18, 2010, the Nets finalized a deal that would move them to the Prudential Center in Newark until the Barclays Center opens. On April 12, 2010 the Nets played their final game at the arena, a 105–95 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, with Terrence Williams making the final basket scored on the court.

Shutdown[]

With the loss of its major tenants, the Izod Center served primarily as a venue for traveling events, such as concerts, ice shows, and other occasional local events such as graduation ceremonies. New Jersey's government considered possible options for the arena, including selling or leasing it to another operator, or closing it entirely. Triple Five Group had attempted to negotiate taking over the arena so it could be incorporated into the nearby American Dream Meadowlands complex, but the deal fell through. The arena reported losses for 2013, also facing competition from Barclays Center in landing major concerts, and it was estimated that the arena would lose $8.5 million over the course of 2015. Even with its use during Super Bowl XLVIII, Izod Center reported a $45,800 loss from the event.

On January 15, 2015, as urged by state governor Chris Christie, the NJSEA voted to close Izod Center. Under a two-year, $2 million agreement with Devils Arena Entertainment LLC, most future events scheduled for Izod Center were moved to Prudential Center. While the arena was originally expected to be shut down by the end of January, its final event was a Ringling Bros. circus event in March 2015. Under the terms of the agreement, the operators of Prudential Center were held responsible for staffing and logistics for shows held after January 31 but was entitled to receive the profits from such events.

On July 14, 2016, The Record reported that Devils Arena Entertainment had yet to pay the first $500,000 installment of its $2 million agreement with the NJSEA. On August 11, 2016, the NJSEA announced that it would allow musicians to book the arena for use as a rehearsal facility. Prudential Center president Hugh Weber noted that Coldplay had similarly done so prior to their tour stop at nearby MetLife Stadium, and that while Prudential Center has frequently seen similar bookings, there is a large backlog due to the venue's high traffic. The NJSEA and the Prudential Center will share the revenue generated by the rehearsals.

Seating capacity[]

Basketball
Years Capacity
1981–1987 20,149[2]
1987–1988 20,040[3]
1988–2003 20,050[4]
2003–2004 19,970[5]
2004–2005 20,175[6]
2005–2006 20,100[7]
2006–2007 20,035[8]
2007–2009 19,990[9]
2009–2015 18,974[10]

Arena usage[]

Sports[]

The arena has primarily served as a sports venue in its history. The arena was the home of the NBA's New Jersey Nets basketball franchise from 1981 to 2010. It was the home arena for the NHL's New Jersey Devils hockey franchise from 1982 to 2007 and the NCAA's Seton Hall Pirates men's basketball team from 1985 to 2007 as well as continuing to play host to various regular season men's college basketball, most recently on December 8, 2012 between Duke University and Temple University. The Fordham Rams have taken over the former Nets' locker room and now use the arena as their secondary home.[11] Izod Center uses two separate floors for NBA and NCAA basketball- a standard hardwood floor for Nets and the arena's old parquet floor for regular season college basketball (since 2007, the NCAA has used a uniform floor for regional sites).

College basketball first arrived at the arena with the opening rounds of the 1984 NCAA basketball tournament. Seton Hall moved its Big East Conference men's basketball games to the arena for the 1985–1986 season, enhancing a tradition that would soon become rich. The arena hosted the NCAA Men's Final Four in 1996, the last traditional arena to do so to date. On eleven occasions (1986–91, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2004, 2007) the arena hosted the semifinals and finals of the tournament's East Regional. Only Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium, which hosted 13 regional finals from 1940 to 1952, has hosted more.[12] It also hosted the 1982–1989 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and 1986 Atlantic Ten Conference men's basketball tournaments.

One of the most memorable moments in the venue's history came on January 22, 1987, when the "334 club" was formed. After New Jersey was hit with 20 inches of snow, only 334 fans attended the Devils' 7–5 victory over the Calgary Flames.[13]

Other teams that have called the arena home include the New Jersey Rockets of the Major Indoor Soccer League, the New Jersey Rockin Rollers of Roller Hockey International, and the New Jersey Red Dogs / Gladiators of the Arena Football League. Two different National Lacrosse League teams have played at the arena – the New Jersey Saints from 1987 to 1988, and the New Jersey Storm from 2002 to 2003. The New York Cosmos also used the arena to host indoor soccer games.

On February 12, 2011, the arena hosted Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva.[14] In November 2011, the Izod Center was the host of the final round of the TicketCity Legends Classic. The UFC on Fox 3 event took place at the arena on May 5, 2012.

Championships[]

Meadowlands Arena has played host to the 1995, 2000, 2001, and 2003 Stanley Cup Finals. The arena has seen the Devils clinch two of their three Stanley Cup championships before a home crowd, winning Game 4 of the 1995 Finals over the Detroit Red Wings and Game 7 of the 2003 Finals over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim; the Devils' other Stanley Cup win took place in Game 6 of the 2000 Finals over the Dallas Stars at Dallas' Reunion Arena. The Devils lost in the 2001 Finals in seven games to the Colorado Avalanche. The arena also was host to the Los Angeles Lakers winning an NBA Championship by sweeping the Nets on June 12, 2002, and again the next year, when the Nets lost in six games to the San Antonio Spurs. Izod Center is the most recent of five venues to host the Stanley Cup Finals and NBA Finals at the same time; the other four are Boston Garden, Madison Square Garden in New York, The Spectrum in Philadelphia and Chicago Stadium. Game 3 of the 1983-84 NASL Indoor Finals was played there on April 11, 1984 between the Cosmos and the San Diego Sockers. This also happened to be the last indoor game played in the North American Soccer League, as the league folded in early 1985. It was one of the busiest arenas in North America in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, playing host to numerous championship and neutral games.

The arena also hosted the NCAA Men's Final Four (basketball) in 1996, which was won by the University of Kentucky, and included Syracuse University, the University of Massachusetts, and Mississippi State University.

Concerts[]

The arena was a popular site for concerts, having been designed with acoustics in mind and requiring a smaller facility fee for artists than competing venues, such as Madison Square Garden.

Bruce Springsteen remains one of the most popular concert acts; his appearances have included a six-night run to open the arena in July 1981, a 10-night sold-out run in 1984, an 11-night run in 1992 and a 15-night sold-out run in 1999. This last feat was commemorated by a large banner hanging from the rafters, next to the banners representing the achievements of the resident sports teams. Additionally, a number of tracks from his 1986 live album Live/1975-85 were recorded at the arena during concerts in 1981 and 1984. In 2015, Springsteen's August 5, 1984, concert was officially released as a live album followed by his August 20, 1984 concert in 2018, his July 25, 1992 concert in 2019, and his July 9, 1981 concert in 2020.

New Jersey natives Bon Jovi have played at the arena many times and sold out every show. The only other act to do that is Bruce Springsteen.

The Rolling Stones performed three consecutive shows, during their 1981 North American Tour, on November 5–7, 1981, with George Thorogood & The Destroyers and The J. Geils Band as their opening acts. The shows on November 5 and 6 were filmed and partially featured on their live-concert film, entitled Let's Spend the Night Together.

Queen performed in the arena on August 9, 1982, during their Hot Space Tour. This concert is infamous for Brian May 'accidentally' snapping his John Birch Red Special replica after he hurled it to his wall of Vox AC30s and the roadies missed to catch it.

Iron Maiden performed the first show on their The Beast on the Road Tour on October 22, 1982, and on their Somewhere Back in Time World Tour on March 14, 2008. Their performance of "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" was featured in the concert documentary Flight 666.The Grateful Dead played 16 times from 1983 through 1989, and recorded Road Trips Volume 4 Number 2, on March 31–April 1, 1988 and Nightfall of Diamonds, on October 16, 1989.

Rush performed during their Power Windows Tour on March 31 and April 1, 1986. The shows were partially featured on their concert album, entitled A Show of Hands.

Pink Floyd performed three concerts on October 10, 11 and 12, 1987, as part of their A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour.

Michael Jackson performed three sold-out shows during his Bad World Tour on October 3, 4 and 5, 1988, in front of 61,061 people.

The Dave Matthews Band's performance on September 11, 1999, was recorded for a PBS special and subsequently released as a live album and DVD, entitled Listener Supported.

Kiss performed on June 27, 2000, during their Kiss Farewell Tour, which was filmed and is available on their Kissology Volume Three: 1992–2000 box set.

Cher performed two shows during her, then, Farewell Tour on July 2, 2002 and April 13, 2005. On her DVD Cher: Live at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, there is a video of her rehearsing at the Izod Center.

Phish performed a concert on February 24, 2003, which featured legendary blues guitarist B.B. King for most of the first set.

Simon & Garfunkel performed two consecutive shows during their Old Friends Reunion Tour, on December 7–8, 2003, with The Everly Brothers as their opening act. They performed "Leaves That Are Green" in place of "Song for the Asking", which had been on their setlist for other concerts on this tour, following an announcement that they had not played it live since 1967.

The arena played host to the final show of the politically motivated Vote for Change Tour on October 13, 2004, featuring performances by Patti Scialfa, Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band, with special guest John Fogerty and unannounced guest Eddie Vedder.

Slipknot performed at the arena on March 6, 2005. The preshow of the concert was featured in a segment on the March 9, 2005, episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien, where the Slipnutz, a comedy musical trio who were featured on Conan, opened for the band. However, the Slipnutz were heavily booed by the crowd.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers performed two consecutive shows during their Stadium Arcadium World Tour, on October 17 and 18, 2006, with The Mars Volta as their opening act. Footage from the shows and the arena were used in the music video for "Snow (Hey Oh)".

The Spice Girls performed during The Return of the Spice Girls Tour on February 13, 2008.

Prince & The New Power Generation kicked off their Welcome 2 American Tour, with two consecutive shows on December 15 and 17, 2010. They also performed two impromptu semi-private shows in the "Hospitality Room", where 50 fans attended the show on December 16 and 30 attended the show on December 18.

The "Love for Levon" concert took place on October 3, 2012, as a tribute to late drummer/singer Levon Helm of The Band. The show featured a wide variety of musicians who had worked with Helm, as well as musicians who were influenced by him. Proceeds from the show went towards keeping Helm's Woodstock barn in his family's control, as well as continuing his Midnight Ramble concert series in the barn. The show's musical directors were Don Was and Levon Helm collaborator Larry Campbell. The concert was released on CD/DVD on March 19, 2013.

Other events[]

The venue has hosted World Wrestling Entertainment events such as SummerSlam in 1989, 1997 and 2007, as well as the King of the Ring tournament in 2001 and No Mercy 2004. Additionally, it has also hosted numerous episodes of WWE Raw, as well and WWE SmackDown. Izod Center also hosted No Way Out on June 17, 2012 and returned Monday October 22, 2012 for WWE Raw.[15] World Championship Wrestling also held events at the arena from 1984 to 1992. In the 2007 SummerSlam WWE announced to the live crowd that the 1 Millionth Fan in attendance was recorded that night in the arena, and a banner hangs from the rafters of the arena recognizing the achievement.

Fordham University's men's basketball team used the Izod Center as an alternate home court for four games in the 2010–11 season.[16] However, attendance for the four games only averaged 1,799 people, lower than their regular home court average, and only a small fraction of Izod Center's capacity.[17]

Paramus Catholic High School holds their graduation ceremony at the Izod Center.[18] Paramus Catholic, a high school of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, is the only high school in New Jersey to hold a graduation on this scale. The tremendous seating area in the arena allows for an unlimited number of guests per graduate, unlike any other high school graduation in the state.

American Idol held auditions at the Izod Center on September 22, 2011.[19]

Other facilities[]

The center previously hosted a Continental Airlines ticketing office.[20]

Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey[]

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The Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey was established in 1988 to honor athletes, teams, events and contributors associated with the state of New Jersey. There is no physical site or structure for the hall, but its members are honored with plaques that are displayed at Izod Center.

Replacement[]

In 2021, plans were revealed to replace the Meadowlands Arena with a new convention center.

Public perception[]

Izod Center frequently is cited near the bottom of arena polls. It is commonly referred to as "cold and dull" in appearance, as well as being "cavernous".[21] In a 2005 poll, USA Today rated it the worst arena in the NBA, with the distance of the inexpensive seats from the court, and the level of crowding in the concourse after the game cited as reasons.[22]

References[]

  1. "Fashionable New Name for Arena". The New York Times. October 5, 2007. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/05/sports/basketball/05arena.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print. Retrieved October 11, 2007. 
  2. Goldaper, Sam (October 25, 1981). "Can Pro Basketball Survive Its Own Money War?". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1981/10/25/sports/can-pro-basketball-survive-its-own-money-war.html. 
  3. Goldaper, Sam (March 6, 1988). "Reed's Nets Win Again". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1988/03/06/sports/pro-basketball-reed-s-nets-win-again.html. 
  4. Robbins, Liz (November 6, 2001). "Nets Are Winning Games but Not Fans". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/06/sports/pro-basketball-nets-are-winning-games-but-not-fans.html. 
  5. Juliano, Joe (May 17, 2004). "Pistons Stay Alive, Even Series". The Philadelphia Inquirer. http://articles.philly.com/2004-05-17/sports/25380787_1_rasheed-wallace-richard-jefferson-nets. 
  6. Miller, Jonathan (October 24, 2004). "For Lame-Duck Nets, Beginning of the End". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/24/nyregion/24NJ.html. 
  7. Best, Neil (December 27, 2005). "Jefferson's Effort Holds Court". Newsday. http://www.newsday.com/sports/jefferson-s-effort-holds-court-1.499483. 
  8. Beck, Howard (May 13, 2007). "Back Home, the Nets' All-Stars Return to Life". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/13/sports/basketball/13nets.html?fta=y. 
  9. Oder, Norman (April 22, 2008). "Newark Option Gets More Realistic, Even as Nets Seek Euro Companies for Gehry Arena". Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report. http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2008/04/newark-option-gets-more-realistic-even.html. 
  10. "2009–10 Nets Media Guide". National Basketball Association. http://www.letsgonets.com/mediaguide/guide/allaccess_izod.htm. 
  11. "Fordham Men's Basketball Hosts Temple at IZOD Center on Wednesday at 7:00 pm". Fordhamsports.com. January 4, 2011. http://www.fordhamsports.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/010411aab.html. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  12. OFFICIAL 2007 NCAA MEN'S FINAL FOUR RECORDS BOOKLua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Category handler/data' not found.Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Category handler/data' not found.[dead link]
  13. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=334%20Club
  14. Sherdog.com. "Strikeforce Fedor vs. Silva". Sherdog.com. http://www.sherdog.com/events/Strikeforce-Fedor-vs-Silva-15667. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  15. Giri, Raj (March 11, 2012). "No Way Out Returns, MITB Moved, Brodus Clay's Dancer, News On Monday's RAW". WrestlingInc.com. http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2012/0311/550509/. Retrieved March 13, 2012. 
  16. "Fordham University Announces 2010–11 Men's Basketball Schedule". Fordham Athletics. September 7, 2010. http://www.fordhamsports.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/090710aaa.html. Retrieved September 11, 2011. 
  17. "2010–11 Men's Basketball Season Statistics". Fordham University Athletics. http://www.fordhamsports.com/sports/m-baskbl/stats/2010-2011/teamcume.html. Retrieved March 13, 2012. 
  18. "Paramus Catholic High School’s Commencement Exercises to Begin June 5th". MyBergen.com. http://www.mybergen.com/content/paramus-catholic-high-school%E2%80%99s-commencement-exercises-begin-june-5th. Retrieved September 11, 2011. 
  19. ""American Idol" to Hold Auditions in East Rutherford, New Jersey Thursday, September 22". The Futon Critic. August 29, 2011. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2011/08/29/american-idol-to-hold-auditions-in-east-rutherford-new-jersey-thursday-september-22-482203/20110829fox01/. Retrieved September 11, 2011. 
  20. "Reservations > U.S. and Canada." Continental Airlines. April 12, 2010. Retrieved on June 11, 2012.
  21. Boeck, Greg (September 12, 2005). "Nets look for gains when it comes to ticketholders". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/nets/2005-09-12-fan-focus_x.htm. Retrieved August 30, 2009. 
  22. Boeck, Greg (April 12, 2005). "NBA arenas: Fantastic or not?". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2005-04-12-arenas-cover_x.htm. Retrieved December 8, 2008. 

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