Less than 24 hours after various media outlets were reporting that the Nets were debating breaking their lease at the Izod Center to set up a home base at the Prudential Center in Newark until if/when the team’s new arena in Brooklyn opens, the Bergen Record is reporting that a truce between the two arenas is drawing close.
Well that was quick.
According to the report, Carl Goldberg, chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, and Jerry Zaro, Governor Jon Corzine’s economic czar, have been meeting for months and Nets chief executive Bret Yormark recently joined the discussion to make this deal happen.
The sticking points seems to be how to ensure that both arenas will generate revenue in the wake of the Nets leaving the Izod Center, the report said. Currently, the Nets would have to pay the sports authority a penalty of about $7.5 million if they break their lease and move anywhere except Brooklyn.
A deal won’t likely be reached until after the gubernatorial elections November 3. The deal should be made regardless of wins the election, according to the report.
Don’t tell that New Jersey State Senator Gerald Cardinale, R-Bergen, who said today he opposed any lease breaking by the Nets – aiming his comments at the Democratic Corzine:
“It would be disturbing if Governor Corzine considers allowing the Nets to move from the Meadowlands to Newark without fulfilling its contractual obligation to the Izod Center. The Nets signed the contract with the Izod Center and should be held to the terms of that contract.”
First off to Gerald Cardinale – oh brother. Stop the presses, a Republican doesn’t like Jon Corzine.
As for the actual news here, I like that both sides are well into discussions on this matter. I’ve never necessarily been in the “Bring them to Newark” camp. I’m in favor of the solution that keeps the Nets competitive, thriving, and in my media market, whether that be in Newark, East Rutherford or Brooklyn. I don’t know how the Nets will sell on a long-term basis in Newark once the city is beyond “audition-mode,” but I do think playing in the Prudential Center next year will help add a touch of legitimacy as the organization tries to lure some free agents. And let me speak as one NYC-based fan that I will absolutely attend more games next season if all I have to do when I get off from work is take the subway to Penn Station and then take a one-seat ride to Newark.