SBD/Issue 49/Facilities & Venues

Johnson, Mara Believe New Stadium Will Overcome Economy

Jets, Giants Owner Give Media
Tour Of New Meadowlands Stadium
Jets Owner Woody Johnson and NFL Giants President & CEO John Mara Thursday gave media a tour of the new Meadowlands stadium and "proudly announced that the project was on budget and on schedule," according to Joshua Robinson of the N.Y. TIMES. Mara said of the economic slowdown's impact on the stadium, "We haven't noticed it so far, but until the process is completed, it's pretty hard to determine one way or the other. I don't expect it to have a big impact on the sales." Johnson and Mara "put a brave face on things," as the two said that they are "confident that their fans from the old Meadowlands would follow the teams across the parking lot." Mara said that he originally expected the Giants' PSL plan to "generate a strong reaction among fans, but reported that it had been less than anticipated." The "economic strain the plan puts on fans, however, has been of concern." Mara: "That's why we tried to come up with as many different pricing options as possible, and we're trying to be flexible and work with people in terms of the payment schedule." Mara added that if someone informs the Giants that they "can no longer afford their season ticket, ... the club will contact that person by phone or by mail to make sure they are fully aware of the available pricing options, including a range of financing packages" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/21). Johnson added that "despite the financial crisis, he believes fans will look past the immediate problems and try to find a way to make it work." Johnson: "I do think they'll be shocked and awed by the stadium, that's for sure. Every time I've been into the stadium, I'm in awe at what's been accomplished and how different it is than the stadium we've played in" (NEWSDAY, 11/21).

Jets Owner Feels Facility Will Have Naming-
Rights Deal Despite Struggling Global Economy
FALLING PRICES: In New Jersey, John Brennan reports a billion-dollar naming-rights deal "may not be in the cards for the new Meadowlands football stadium, as the global economy sags and two of the sectors that most commonly vie for such deals -- automakers and financial services -- suffer the most in the downturn." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis: "If you sold the naming rights today, it would surely be at a discount, and that's not a good situation to be in." But Johnson insisted that "even given the difficult times, he sees no reason to worry about finding a stadium naming-rights partner." Johnson: "Having two teams in a brand-new stadium, basically in Manhattan, is unprecedented. And with the proximity to Europe and this being the media capital of the world -- it's still a very attractive opportunity." Mara added that about 60% of the 216 luxury suites "have sold, a figure ahead of the teams' original estimates." Brennan notes the suites are priced at up to $1M annually for access to all stadium events (Bergen RECORD, 11/21).

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