With the arena on track to lose $8 million this year and an offer from Prudential Center of $2 million if the facility was shuttered, the state Sports and Exposition Authority decided to close Izod Center after the last big contracted act of 2015, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The circus’s run ended yesterday, and the process began to close down the arena, formerly home to the New Jersey Nets (NBA) and New Jersey Devils (NHL) and opened in 1981 with a legendary Bruce Springsteen concert. From NorthJersey.com:
Veronica Jackson of Jersey City started as an usher on that July night in 1981 when Springsteen and his E Street Band opened the arena. On Sunday, she was still there, disconsolate.
“That first night was exciting,” Jackson remembered. “We didn’t know what to expect. The last month has been hell. It’s like part of you is dying.”
Joe Villani, a union official in charge of stagehands who has worked at the arena since 1981, compared the closing to “losing my home.”
There are very few markets that can support multiple arenas, and clearly the greater Newark area is not one. While the state authority says the future of Izod Center is still to be determined, there’s little chance it will exist as it did in the past: it will either be torn down or sold off.
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