SBD/Issue 163/Facilities & Venues

Newark Offers $210M For Arena; McGreevey Waits On YankeeNets

MSG, Dolan Tell The Nets
Not To Cross The River

Newark is "believed to have agreed to put up $210[M] toward a $355[M] arena" for the Nets and Devils, according to John Brennan of the Bergen RECORD. NJ Gov. James McGreevey: "We have set forth a very reasonable, balanced proposal — and arguably a proposal which [YankeeNets] originally requested. It becomes increasingly difficult to negotiate with a moving target" (Bergen RECORD, 5/17). NEWSDAY noted the $210M offer is "about 25[%] larger than the state's final offer. It's also $45[M] more than the city pledged in a preliminary agreement in October" (NEWSDAY, 5/17). In N.Y., Serby & Kernan wrote that Nets ownership "recently reached out to [Cablevision CEO] James Dolan and offered to become a tenant." But Dolan "told the Nets to stay on their side of the river" (N.Y. POST, 5/18). In Newark, Matthew Futterman wrote the Nets' and Devils' success "has done little to generate enthusiasm within the boardroom of their parent company." Futterman: "The majority of board members view the teams as a drain on the company's assets. The most telling sign of that sentiment is the board's refusal to make an up-front investment in the proposed $355[M] arena in Newark." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis, who is advising YankeeNets, said the teams' success is "not a driving factor in the arena deal. We are not taking (the playoff success) into account as an economic driver." YankeeNets officials said that the Devils are "projected to lose as much as $25[M]" this year even if they win the Stanley Cup. Each home playoff game "generates about $800,000," but investors "still owe former Devils owner John McMullen roughly $35[M]." While the "finances are less dire for the Nets," the team still needs to reach the NBA Finals "to have a chance to break even or eke out a small profit." An unidentified YankeeNets official said, "The teams came together for two purposes, creating a sports network and building an arena. One of them is done, and the other is sucking wind" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 5/16).

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