Devils' O'Neil, Weber Aiming To Overhaul Business Practices For Team, Arena
Devils and Prudential Center CEO Scott O'Neil and Devils President of Business Operations Hugh Weber are "attempting to win back the business community, one partnership at a time," according to Steve Politi of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. While the new team owners saw "several surprises after they took over the team" from former Owner Jeff Vanderbeek, "nothing was quite as stunning as the fractured relationship with the business community." But it is "obvious after one hectic game night" following O'Neil and Weber around Prudential Center "that they'll work, from the luxury suites to the cheap seats and beyond." O'Neil wants the team's "game-day experience -- the food, the entertainment, everything -- upgraded." There "will be resistance, and the outcry over a decision to change the team's goal song is proof." But O’Neil "believes if the Devils give the fans more, they’ll have more fans." Meanwhile, Weber wants to make the arena "a destination, one that ties in the other budding projects in the city and the university campuses." He wants "more shops, more apartment buildings, and his arena sitting at the center of it all." In the six years since Prudential Center opened, it has "only had a minimal impact" on the area because fans tend to "come to the arena, watch an event, then load back into the train or cars and go home." Weber "spent his first five months on the job ... trying to figure out" how to make the venue "more than a place people just go for concerts and games" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 4/3).