SBD/January 26, 2011/Facilities

Newark Eyes New NBA Team At Prudential Center After Nets Leave

Nets plan to spend two seasons at Prudential Center before moving to Brooklyn in '12
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie yesterday said he has had "casual conversations" with NBA Commissioner David Stern about the possibility of Newark getting another NBA team once the Nets leave for Brooklyn in '12, according to John Brennan of the Bergen RECORD. Christie said, "I think there is a future for NBA basketball here in Newark. I think that New Jersey having a state-of-the-art facility like Newark has here, you have the possibility of doing that. We support three (National Hockey League) teams in the region, so I don’t see why we can’t support three basketball teams." Prudential Center "beat out a bid by the 30-year-old Izod Center, among others, to host" the NCAA men's basketball tournament East Regional in March. The Newark arena also last year "surpassed Izod Center in ticket sales for concerts and family shows." But Christie said that Prudential Center's success "does not have any relevance to the future of Izod Center, which Christie hopes to see privatized." Triple Five, which operates Mall of America, has signed a letter of intent to take over management of the Xanadu complex in the Meadowlands. Christie would not address whether Triple Five might also operate Izod Center, saying only he will have "major announcements in the coming weeks about Mall of America’s involvement" at the Meadowlands Sports complex (Bergen RECORD, 1/26). Christie joined Newark Mayor Cory Booker yesterday in unveiling plans for this year's NCAA East Regional, including a logo and the motto, "Go Newark Hoop Fest." Booker said, "It's nothing short of stunning that the city of Newark is being associated with the NCAA Tournament. ... This is a way that we can distinguish ourselves as a major sports city and continue to establish New Jersey as a great sports state" (AP, 1/25).
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