SBD/6/Facilities Venues

NJSEA TO PUSH FOR NEW MEADOWLANDS ARENA FOR NETS, DEVILS

          The NJ Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) "is set to
     recommend" to Gov. Christine Whitman that NJ build a new
     arena and family entertainment center in the Meadowlands
     "with the hope of persuading the Nets and Devils to stay,"
     according to Doug Most of the Bergen RECORD.  Whitman's
     decision "is likely" to be influenced by the "expected
     recommendation" from NJSEA President James DiEleuterio, who
     is scheduled to submit a report to Whitman later this month. 
     But NJSEA Chair Raymond Bateman "acknowledged that an arena
     at the Meadowlands does not guarantee a professional sports
     team as a tenant," as the Nets want an arena in downtown
     Newark and the Devils want one in Hoboken.  The NJSEA
     proposal calls for a $272M arena and three parking decks
     near Giants Stadium, plus a $150M retail complex that would
     be privately financed and replace Continental Airlines
     Arena.  The state would contribute $72M for parking and road
     improvements around the facility.  Whitman could either go
     with an arena in Newark for the Nets and one in Hoboken for
     the Devils or try to get both teams "to stay put by
     upgrading the East Rutherford facility."  Whitman's Chief
     Counsel Rick Mroz: "The governor knows that no matter what,
     the complex will continue to be a sports venue, even if the
     two arena teams are not there."  Most wrote that "it's
     doubtful Whitman would authorize state funds for
     infrastructure improvements near a Newark arena if she" went
     forward with the Meadowlands plan.  Meanwhile, sources have
     "suggested" that single ownership of both teams could keep
     them playing in one arena, and the Nets owners have
     "expressed interest in buying the Devils and moving both
     teams to Newark."  However, "there's no indication" Devils
     Owner John McMullen would sell the team (RECORD, 12/5).   

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