Prudential Center


Prudential Center
Prudential Center
"The Rock"
Prudential Center logo.svg
Pudcentnewarkjeh.JPG
The Mulberry Street side of the arena, flanked by the entrance cylinders and featuring a large LED screen.
Location 165 Mulberry Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Coordinates 40°44′1″N 74°10′16″W / 40.73361°N 74.17111°W / 40.73361; -74.17111Coordinates: 40°44′1″N 74°10′16″W / 40.73361°N 74.17111°W / 40.73361; -74.17111
Broke ground October 3, 2005
Opened October 25, 2007
Owner Newark Housing Authority
Operator Devils Arena Entertainment [1]
Construction cost USD $375 million[1]
($397 million in 2011 dollars[2])
Architect HOK Sport
Morris Adjmi Architects (Exterior)[3]
Project Manager ICON Venue Group[3]
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti
General Contractor Gilbane Construction[3][4]
Capacity Ice hockey: 17,625[5]
Basketball: 18,711
Soccer: 17,502
Lacrosse: 17,625
Concerts: 19,500[6]
Tenants
New Jersey Devils (NHL) (2007–present)
New Jersey Nets (NBA) (2010–2012)
New York Liberty (WNBA) (2011–2013)
Seton Hall Pirates (NCAA) (2007–present)
NJIT Highlanders basketball (NCAA) (2008–present)
New York Titans (NLL) (2007–2009)
New Jersey Ironmen (XSL) (2007–2009)
New Jersey Rockets {Atlantic Junior Hockey League}

Prudential Center is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the central business district of Newark, New Jersey, United States. The arena was designed by HOK Sport (now Populous), with the exterior designed by Morris Adjmi Architects. Opened in 2007, it is the home of the National Hockey League's (NHL) New Jersey Devils, the NCAA's Seton Hall Pirates men's basketball team. It is also the temporary home of the Women's National Basketball Association's (WNBA) New York Liberty during the renovation of Madison Square Garden and the National Basketball Association's (NBA) New Jersey Nets until the new Barclays Center opens in Brooklyn. The arena seats 17,625 patrons for hockey and 18,711 for basketball. Fans and sports writers have affectionately nicknamed Prudential Center "The Rock"[7] in reference to the Rock of Gibraltar, the corporate logo of Prudential Financial, a Fortune Global 500 and Fortune 500 financial institution that owns the naming rights to the arena and is headquartered within walking distance.

The arena was built amidst financial concerns and years of speculation that the Devils would relocate, despite the fact that the Devils were playing Championship-caliber hockey and were often at or near the top of the NHL's standings for the better part of two decades. The arena is located two blocks from Newark Penn Station in downtown Newark, just west of Newark's Ironbound district, making it easily accessible via New Jersey Transit, PATH, Newark Light Rail, and Amtrak. At the time of its opening, Prudential Center was the first major league sports venue to be built in the New York metropolitan area since the Brendan Byrne Arena, the Devils' former home, opened in 1981. It is hoped that Prudential Center might play an important role in the revitalization of Newark,[8] and it was announced on February 5, 2010 that Marriott will be opening a 150 room Courtyard Marriott hotel connected to the arena, the first hotel to be opened downtown in 38 years.[9]

Contents

History

Planning

For years, the New Jersey Devils had been the subject of rumors regarding relocation. Even when the team won the Stanley Cup in 1995, it was amidst rumors that the franchise would move to Nashville. Despite playing championship-caliber hockey in the 2002–03 season, the Devils only drew an average 14,754 fans to their home arena Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, an outdated facility that was not very accessible by public transit.[10]

A project to build a new 18,000 seat arena in Newark first received funding from Newark's city council in 2002 when the team was owned by the Puck Holdings group.[10] In 2004, former Lehman Brothers executive Jeffrey Vanderbeek bought the team from Puck Holdings and became a strong proponent of the proposed arena.[10] Vanderbeek said, "The Devils need a new arena that can provide a game-day experience that is certainly equal to the best team in the National Hockey League and certainly equal to the product that is put on the ice."[10] He also stated that he believed the arena "would take downtown Newark to a whole new level."[10] After legal battles over both eminent domain and the city's financial participation in the arena project, the final deal was approved by council in October 2004.[11]

Construction and funding

Prudential Center, under construction in June 2007

A seven-acre site[12] for the arena in downtown Newark was selected, bordered by Edison Place on the north, Lafayette Street on the south, Mulberry Street on the east, and Broad Street on the west. The arena was designed by HOK Sport, with the exterior designed by Morris Adjmi Architects. Initial designs were released in early 2005 and referred to the arena as "Newark Arena". Groundbreaking began on October 3, 2005 and a workforce of 2,725 union workers was employed to construct the arena.[12] Financial issues, though, threatended to halt the deal. On January 24, 2006, the Devils averted having the project canceled by submitting a guarantee in writing that the team would contribute $100 million to the arena,[13] one day before their deadline.[14]

Though construction was well underway, in late summer 2006, Cory Booker, who had recently taken office as Mayor of Newark, promised to reevaluate the deal and considered backing out.[15][16] In October, Booker conceded there would be "a first-class arena built in the city of Newark, whether we like it or not",[17] and soon afterwards, the Devils struck a deal including both property and monetary givebacks that appeased city officials.[18]

The city of Newark pledged to contribute $210 million to the construction of the arena, using all of that money from its lease of Newark Liberty International Airport with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Devils paid for the remainder of the cost. Thus, no new direct taxpayer funding was required for the construction of the arena.[19] Some taxpayer dollars, however, were spent on infrastructure improvements. These improvements were necessary for both the new arena and proposed private development that is planned to surround the arena.

Prudential Financial purchased the naming rights to the arena in January 2007 for $105.3 million over 20 years, reducing from the city's cost for the project. Prudential has chosen to call the arena the "Prudential Center", even though this is also the name of numerous office complexes around the country, most notably in Boston, Massachusetts. The arena had been referred to as "Newark Arena" prior to the deal, and now arena press releases refer to the Prudential Center as "The Rock" after Prudential's corporate logo.[7]

Construction on the arena was completed in October 2007[20][21]. The estimated final cost of the arena's construction is estimated at $375 million.[1][22] In total, more than 18,000 tons of steel were used to build the bowl area and high roof, while 62,000 linear feet of ductwork were installed throughout the arena.[12] The Devils had to play their first nine games of the 2007–08 NHL season on the road as construction on their home arena was finished.

Opening

For the soft opening on October 20, the Newark Boys Chorus performed at Prudential Center, which became the first use of the arena. It officially opened on October 25, 2007 with a series of 10 concerts by the New Jersey native rock group Bon Jovi, featuring a star-studded lineup of opening acts including Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Daughtry, The All-American Rejects and fellow New Jersey native group My Chemical Romance.[23]

The Devils played their first home game at Prudential Center on October 27, 2007 against the Ottawa Senators, who, coincidentally, were the Devils' last opponent at Continental Airlines Arena (now known as the Izod Center).[24] Chris Neil scored the arena's first goal, with Martin Gerber earning the first win.

On November 11, 2007, the first collegiate basketball game took place in the arena, with Seton Hall defeating Monmouth, 89–81, in overtime.

Lighting incident

On January 8, 2010, a lighting problem occurred in the arena during a game between the Devils and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay was leading 3–0 with 9:12 left in the second period when half of the arena's sports lights went out due to a power surge on the grid feeding electricity to the arena, followed by a computerized lighting system failing to reboot. PSEG and Prudential Center electricians worked on the situation for 1 hour and 52 minutes but could not reboot the system. The game was suspended due to the lighting problem;[25] it was resumed two nights later, with about 3,000 of the original crowd of 15,129 in attendance.[26] Tampa Bay won, 4–2, with Lightning center Steve Stamkos scoring two goals in the contest: one on Friday and one on Sunday.[27]

Arena usage

A view of the ice following a New Jersey Devils game from Section 232.

Prudential Center primarily serves as the home ice for the NHL's New Jersey Devils hockey franchise, who previously played at the Continental Airlines Arena (now the Izod Center) from 1982–2007, as well as the home courts of NBA's New Jersey Nets and the NCAA's Seton Hall Pirates men's basketball team, who also played at the Continental Airlines Arena from 1981-2010 and 1985–2007, respectively. The arena is also available for select home games for NCAA's Seton Hall Pirates women's basketball team, and the NJIT Highlanders men's basketball team. It was the home of National Lacrosse League's New York Titans franchise until 2009. On August 11, 2009, the National Lacrosse League confirmed that the franchise was to relocate to Orlando, Florida and become the Orlando Titans. The arena was also the home of the Xtreme Soccer League's New Jersey Ironmen franchise until 2009. Citing economic trouble, the XSL folded in July 2009. Although the league officially called it a one year hiatus, the likelihood play will resume is small.

Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil scored the arena's first goal, while Brian Gionta scored the first goal for the Devils in a 4–1 Ottawa victory.[28] The first hat-trick in Prudential Center history was netted by Jay Pandolfo, in a 6–1 Devils victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on October 31, 2007, a game which was also the Devils' first home victory at the arena. The Prudential Center hosted its first Stanley Cup Playoff game against the New York Rangers on April 9, 2008. On April 15, 2009, the Devils won their first playoff game at the Prudential Center with a 4–1 win over against the Carolina Hurricanes. For select Devils home games, the arena's practice rink is open to fans after the game for public ice skating.

The arena was originally intended to be the home of the New Jersey Nets, but YankeeNets has since sold the team and the Nets planned to relocate to the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. However, lawsuits, economic issues, and a recession have plagued the project. The franchise is scheduled to relocate to Brooklyn in 2012. In the fall of 2009, the Nets played two preseason games at the Prudential Center, a possible sign that the team could move there in the future.[29] After the success of the preseason games at the Prudential Center, reports began to surface in late October that the Nets would indeed move to the Prudential Center for the 2010–11 NBA season.[30]

On February 18, 2010, the Nets finalized a deal that would move them to the Prudential Center until the Barclays Center in Brooklyn opens. The Prudential Center will also play host to the East Regional of the 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.

The WNBA's New York Liberty will play home games at the Prudential Center for the next three years, beginning with the 2011 season, due to ongoing summer renovations at Madison Square Garden.

In November 2007 and 2008, the Center hosted the semifinals and finals of college basketball's Legends Classic.[31] The arena also hosts the NJSIAA Public A, Public B, and Private State Finals for high school ice hockey. The New Jersey Ironmen played their inaugural home game at Prudential Center on December 1, 2007. A crowd of 13,429 was on hand to see soccer legend Pelé, who was honorary captain, take the ceremonial first kick. The Ironmen won this game 8–6 over the Detroit Ignition.

The UFC held UFC 78 on November 17, 2007, which was one of the first events to take place at the new arena, and marked the first UFC event in New Jersey in two years.[32] It also played host to UFC 111, which took place on March 27, 2010.[33]

Notable events

The Eagles' performance at the arena on their Long Road out of Eden Tour, is commemorated with murals on the arena's upper suite level.

Boxing Promoter Main Events has hosted a number of fight cards, most notably headlined by former world champions Zab Judah and Tomasz Adamek. Due to the large Polish population in the North Jersey area, Adamek has drawn upwards of 10,000 fans for his last few bouts, including almost 11,000 against Michael Grant on August, 21, 2010.

The arena was host to WWE Hell in a Cell on October 4, 2009, the first-ever WWE event to be held in Newark. WWE has returned to Newark on Sunday March 20th, 2011 for a RAW House Show.

Democrat gubernatorial incumbent Jon Corzine held a rally On November 1, 2009 in order to gather support for the Election on Tuesday, November 3, 2009. Various local government officials attended, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker, but the highlight of the rally was the appearance of President Barack Obama, who addressed the near-capacity crowd.[34]

Nik Wallenda walked and then bicycled across a suspended wire, 12 stories off of the ground, from the roof of the Prudential Center during a live broadcast of Today on October 15, 2008. The stunt was made in an attempt to break the world record for longest and highest bike ride on a highwire, which is documented by the Guinness Book of Records.[35]

On April 14, 2011, then again on June 8, 2011 and June 9, 2011, FOX's new TV show, The X Factor, held auditions at Prudential Center for its 1st season. The open auditions were held on April 14, while the live auditions took place on June 8th and 9th.

Features

Design

The lower level Grand Concourse, with the Goal Bar on the upper right, features jerseys from most high school hockey teams in New Jersey.

The red and gray exterior is inspired by Newark's bricklaying and railroad heritage, while paying homage to the team colors of the New Jersey Devils, red and black.[5] Fans approaching the arena from the front are presented with a view of the arena's externally mounted 4,800 square foot (446 m²) LED display, one of the largest in the world.[36] The Daktronics display is split up into thin panels with gaps in between, in order to prevent the fans' view from inside from being obstructed.[37] Along the arena's east side Mulberry Street entrance are two large "entrance cylinders" named the South Tower and PNC Tower, the arena's most prominent exterior feature. These towers take the fans up to the Grand Concourse, by escalator and staircase.[8]

The interior's lower level Grand Concourse provides views of downtown Newark on the Edison Place and Mulberry Street sides through large windows. Prudential Center features separate concourses for the lower and upper levels, whereas the Continental Airlines Arena had one concourse for both levels of the arena. Throughout the Grand Concourse, jerseys of most high school hockey teams in New Jersey hang from the walls. The arena also features many murals of players and memorable moments from Devils history. One 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) mural[12] encompases a long stretch of the Grand Concourse wall and features Devils Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, and Ken Daneyko, along with tributes to other New Jersey sports and Newark landmarks, with depictions that include Seton Hall men's basketball legends Richie Regan and Terry Dehere, soccer player Tony Meola, a boxer, and tennis legend Althea Gibson.

Amenities and facilities

As one of the newest facilities to be used in the NHL, the Prudential Center features a large array of amenities.[8] The rink area features four LED ribbons and an eight-sided scoreboard equipped with high-definition video displays from Daktronics.[36] The 76 luxury suites available[5] are the largest in North America.[8] Personal dining, WiFi, and high-definition televisions are some of the many conveniences available in the luxury suites.[8] There are 750 flat-screen televisions in total across the arena.[5]

In the lower bowl's three middle sections are 2,330 Club Seats.[12] These seats are colored black, are wider, and offer more legroom.[36] Club Seat and season ticket holders have access to a 350-seat restaurant on the suite level in one of the end zones with views of the rink and practice rink.[36] Additionally, the Goal Bar, located at Suite Level One offers Club and Goal Bar seat holders terrace-style seating in a bar environment.[36] The Goal Bar is where Deb Placey and Ken Daneyko do intermission and post-game analysis for Devils' telecasts. Club Seat holders also have access to the Fire and Ice Lounges, modern themed private bars intended to attract pre-game and post-game crowds. These lounges are located at the top of the lower bowl, behind the Club Seats.[8]

On the Edison Place side of the arena at street level are the ticket office and the Devils' new 2,600 square foot (242 m²) Team Store, along with Championship Plaza, a public meeting place that celebrates the Devils' past and present success on the ice.[36] Attached to the Prudential Center are the Devils' corporate offices and practice rink, which contains its own locker rooms. The Prudential Center is one of only two NHL arenas with a practice rink (the other being Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets) and the only one with dual locker rooms and practice facilities.[38]

Championship Plaza

Championship Plaza, an outdoor space designed to celebrate the Devils' 30 year history, is located opposite the PNC Bank Tower on Mulberry Street between Edison Place and Market Street. "We are working hard to enhance our fans' experience at Prudential Center, and continue our effort to be a cornerstone in the revitalization of Newark," Vanderbeek said in a released statement. "Championship Plaza is going to be a great place to gather with friends, meet new fans and celebrate Jersey's team." But the most prominent piece of the project has to be the 22-foot (6.7 m) tall, 7,000-pound stainless steel hockey player statue. The Prudential rock, inspired by the Rock of Gibraltar, was also installed in the plaza, and placed along Mulberry Street. Devil fans were able purchase a limited amount of bricks that would be placed in and around the plaza with personalized messages inscribed. The plaza was opened to the public on October 3, 2009.

Accessibility and transportation

Prudential Center is the first new arena built in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area in more than 25 years. Located only two blocks from Newark Penn Station, the building is one of the most easily accessible arenas in the country via NJ Transit, PATH, Newark Light Rail, and Amtrak through Newark's Penn Station. Highways surrounding the arena include I-280, I-78, New Jersey Turnpike, US 1/9, NJ 21, US 22, and the Garden State Parkway.[39] Via public transportation, Prudential Center is only 12 miles (19 km), or a 17 minute trip from downtown Manhattan in New York City.[12] Approximately 9,066 parking spaces are within 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of the arena.[12]

See also

References

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  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
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  10. ^ a b c d e Caldwell, Dave (March 3, 2004). "Wall Street Executive to Buy Devils". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/03/sports/hockey/03DEVI.html. Retrieved 2006-08-30. [dead link]
  11. ^ Brennan, John (October 7, 2004). "Newark arena for Devils 'a done deal'". The Record (Bergen County). Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071016151615/http://northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk1JmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2NTk2NDMyJnlyaXJ5N2Y3MTdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5Mg==. Retrieved 2006-08-30. 
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  17. ^ Brennan, John (October 20, 2006). "Devils arena will go forward, Booker says". The Record (Bergen County). Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071016151620/http://northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2MDYmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcwMDgwMjQmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkz. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  18. ^ Brennan, John (October 31, 2006). "Newark, Devils OK arena deal". The Record (Bergen County). http://www.bergenrecord.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDEyODgwJnlyaXJ5N2Y3MTdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5Mg==. Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
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  27. ^ Chere, Rich (January 10, 2010). "NJ Devils lose, 4–2, to Tampa Bay Lightning in resumption of suspended game". The Star-Ledger. http://www.nj.com/devils/index.ssf/2010/01/nj_devils_lose_4-1_to_tampa_ba.html. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  28. ^ NHL.com – Scores
  29. ^ "Prudential Center To Host New Jersey Nets Pre-Season Basketball". Prudential Center's Official Website. March 4, 2009. http://www.prucenter.com/default.asp?prucenter=107&objId=73. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  30. ^ "NJ Nets to take up residence at Prudential Center beginning next year, according to report". The Star-Ledger. October 23, 2009. http://www.nj.com/nets/index.ssf/2009/10/nj_nets_to_take_up_residence_a.html. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  31. ^ Associated Press (June 12, 2007). "NJ's Prudential Center to host UT, college hoops tourney". KXAN.com. http://www.kxan.com/Global/story.asp?S=6649026. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  32. ^ Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) organization returns to New Jersey
  33. ^ Dana White Calls UFC 111 Co-Main Events "Can't Miss Fights"
  34. ^ Fleisher, Lisa (November 1, 2009). "Obama tells Newark rally high voter turnout will guarantee Democratic win". The Star-Ledger. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/11/obama_tells_newark_rally_high.html. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  35. ^ Celizic, Mike (October 15, 2008). "Wallenda slides, but rides in record high-wire stunt". TODAYshow.com. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/27178568/. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
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  38. ^ "Prudential Center's Practice Rink". New Jersey Devils' Official Website. August 31, 2007. http://devils.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=336.... Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  39. ^ "Prudential Center :: Location". http://www.prucenter.com/default.asp?prucenter=89&urlkeyword=Location. 

External links


Events and tenants
Preceded by
Continental Airlines Arena
Home of the
New Jersey Devils

2007 – present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
Izod Center
Home of the
New Jersey Nets

2010–2012
Succeeded by
Barclays Center
Preceded by
Madison Square Garden
Home of the
New York Liberty

2011–2013
Succeeded by
Madison Square Garden
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
New Jersey Ironmen

2007 – present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
Continental Airlines Arena
Home of the
Seton Hall Pirates

2007 – present
Succeeded by
current

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