SBD/Issue 248/NFL Season Preview

New Meadowlands Stadium Features Nontraditional Food Options

New Meadowlands Stadium is "putting a premium on good grub, from the concourse level right up to the luxury suites," according to Peter Genovese of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. The hot dog is "still king" at the stadium, but stadium execs "realize they can no longer depend on the standards." Delaware North Sportservice President Rick Abramson: "We'll have an Italian hot dog. But we'll have our own identity. We have 25-30 new items that had not been available at the (old) stadium. I don't want Jersey to be shortchanged. There's a lot of great food here." Genovese notes stadium officials "took a two-day limo tour of Jersey and New York City food joints as part of their research, sampling local food legends." Items "based on Food Network recipes will be available in the Gridiron and Touchdown clubs, with spicy beer dogs, jerk chicken dogs and a Food Network Greek salad among the items." Exec Chef Eric Borgia also said officials are "working on a prime rib sandwich for the Gridiron and Touchdown clubs." Meanwhile, standard stadium food "can be purchased at stands." There will be "kiosks for pepper and egg sandwiches, Taylor ham sandwiches, cheesesteaks -- and Nonna Fusco's meatballs," which are based on Borgia's "grandmother's recipe." Nine Weber charcoal grills also will be "stationed in one section of the parking lot, with chicken kabobs, short rib sandwiches and carved roast sandwiches." Genovese offers his thoughts on the stadium's food options in the chart below (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/10).

FOOD
COMMENTS
Sausage and peppers sandwich
The hot sausage was "slightly better than the bland sweet sausage."
Cheesecake
From Anthony's Cheesecake in Bloomfield, N.J. "Go with the New York-style cheesecake."
Corned beef on rye "Seriously dried out; would be laughed out of … any reputable NYC or Jersey deli."
Nathan's chili "A little soupy but good ground beef."
Roast pork sandwich "A bit salty but juicy and otherwise seasoned well."
Nonna Fusco's meatballs "This and the roast pork sandwich were the two best items sampled."
Italian antipasto "Prosciutto and provolone in a narrow funnel cup reminiscent of boardwalk fries. Tacky."
Buffalo mac and cheese "Call them really average."
Pizza "Better than the woeful product sampled during a Yankee Stadium food tour last year."

COMING UP SHORT: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Ryan Sutton noted food is "included in the Coaches Club ticket price." The buffet includes "medium-rare skirt steaks, succulent brief tenderloins, juicy stuffed turkey and spicy chili," but there also is "overcooked penne a la vodka, rubbery kosher chicken nuggets and mushy cannoli." The Coaches Club also "embarrasses our country's culinary capital with retrograde, flavorless Tex-Mex chicken tortillas, tuna fish-like lobster rolls and soggy fries." Sutton: "The fare at best is generic and utterly boring. ... Other sports complexes hire well-known regional chefs and restaurateurs; the Meadowlands picked the mass-market Food Network to provide $11 short rib hot dogs" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 9/8).

Johnson (l) Claims Getting Rid Of "Giants
Stadium" Moniker Is "Incalculable" For Jets

PROUD OF THEIR NEW HOME: In N.Y., Gary Myers noted the stadium "will go with the generic name New Meadowlands Stadium ... until some corporation decides to spend $25 million per year on naming rights." Super Bowl XLVIII in '14 "eventually should help get a deal done," but for the Jets, playing at New Meadowlands Stadium is "much better than playing in Giants Stadium." Jets Owner Woody Johnson said how much the stadium means to the team is "absolutely incalculable at this point." Johnson: "They have a sense of pride when they go into the locker room. It's their locker room. I don't know how to put it into terms other than it is very, very positive for the team. Now and in the future. That is their ground now" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/8). Meanwhile, New Meadowlands Stadium Co. President & CEO Mark Lamping said there is no "artificial deadline" on landing a naming-rights partner for the facility. Lamping: "We're in a situation where we need to just settle for a ... sponsor that long run might not be the best partner. We're going to have a great partner and we're really not going to put any time pressure on when that deal has to come together" (Fox Business, 9/9).

THE ULTIMATE MIDDLE MAN: Giants President & CEO John Mara said that the partnership between his team and the Jets on the stadium "would not have worked if not for the presence" of  Lamping, who "served as a central decision-maker." Lamping: "My role is pretty simple: It's to make sure, as an organization, that we were totally neutral in everything that we do. That we ensure that both teams were treated equally. That we ensured that information that we might receive from one team, that the confidentiality of that team was protected." Lamping added, "At the end of the day, both teams have a lot of money invested in the stadium, and both teams need the stadium to be successful, and they've been guided accordingly in their decision making" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/10).

STADIUM GONE, DEBT REMAINS: In N.Y., Ken Belson noted the now-demolished Giants Stadium "still carries about $110 million in debt, or nearly $13 for every New Jersey resident." A "big source of revenue to pay down the debt has shriveled" with the stadium being demolished and the Jets and Giants moving into New Meadowlands Stadium. New Jersey residents are "hardly alone in paying for stadiums that no longer exist." King County (WA) residents "owe more than $80 million for the Kingdome, which was razed in 2000," and the "story has been similar in Indianapolis and Philadelphia." Houston, K.C., Memphis and Pittsburgh residents also are "paying for stadiums and arenas that were abandoned by the teams they were built for." But Belson noted Giants Stadium is the "granddaddy of phantom facilities." Taxpayers in New Jersey, "already under pressure from declining local government revenues, this year will pay $35.8 million in principal and interest on the $266 million in remaining bonds for the Meadowlands Sports Complex," bonds that "will not be paid until 2025" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/8).

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