Prudential Center





Prudential Center is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the central business district of Newark, New Jersey, United States. It 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 and the NCAA's Seton Hall Pirates men's basketball team. The arena seats 17,625 patrons for hockey and 18,711 for basketball. Fans and sports writers have affectionately nicknamed the arena "The Rock" in reference to the Rock of Gibraltar, the corporate logo of Prudential Financial, a financial institution that owns the naming rights to the arena and is headquartered within walking distance of it. In December 2013, the arena ranked third nationally and ninth internationally for self-reported annual revenue.

The arena was built amidst financial concerns and years of speculation that the Devils would relocate, despite the fact that the team was a perennial playoff contender and was often at or near the top of the NHL's standings for nearly 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. The Prudential Center has played an important role in the revitalization of downtown Newark.

History


Prudential Center

Planning

For years, the New Jersey Devils had been rumored to be at least considering 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 2002â€"03 season culminating in a Stanley Cup that year, the Devils only averaged 14,858 fans per game at their home arena, Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford.

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 Puck Holdings, a subsidiary of YankeeNets. In 2004, former Lehman Brothers executive Jeffrey Vanderbeek bought the team from Puck Holdings and became a strong proponent of the proposed arena. 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." He also stated that he believed the arena "would take downtown Newark to a whole new level." 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.

Construction and funding

A seven-acre site 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 site was the location of the never-completed Renaissance Mall and, previously, the tracks and train shed of the Central Railroad of New Jersey's Broad/Lafayette Street terminal whose building still stands nearby. 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. Financial issues, though, threatened 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, one day before their deadline.

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. In October, Booker conceded there would be "a first-class arena built in the city of Newark, whether we like it or not", and soon afterwards, the Devils struck a deal including both property and monetary givebacks that appeased city officials.

The city of Newark pledged to contribute $210 million to the construction of the arena, using settlement money from its lease dispute over underpayed rent for use 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. Some taxpayer dollars, however, were spent on infrastructure improvements. These improvements were necessary for both the new arena and proposed private development surrounding 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.

Construction on the arena was completed in October 2007. The estimated final cost of the arena's construction is $380 million. 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. The Devils had to play their first nine games of the 2007â€"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.

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. 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, 89â€"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 3â€"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; it was resumed two nights later, with about 3,000 of the original crowd of 15,129 in attendance. Tampa Bay won, 4â€"2, with Lightning center Steven Stamkos scoring two goals in the contest: one on Friday and one on Sunday.

Arena usage


Prudential Center

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 to 2007, as well as the NCAA's Seton Hall Pirates men's basketball team, who also played at the Continental Airlines Arena from 1985 to 2007. The arena hosts select home games for NCAA's Seton Hall Pirates women's basketball team, and the NJIT Highlanders men's basketball team. The arena was the former home of National Lacrosse League's (NLL) New York Titans franchise and the Xtreme Soccer League's (XSL) New Jersey Ironmen franchise until 2009. The Titans relocated to Orlando while the XSL folded in July 2009.

The arena was originally intended to be the home of the New Jersey Nets, but YankeeNets sold the team to Bruce Ratner, who decided he would relocate the Nets to the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. Lawsuits, economic issues, and a recession plagued the construction of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. In the fall of 2009, the Nets played two preseason games at the Prudential Center, while considering a possible move there. After the success of the preseason games at the Prudential Center, reports began to surface that the Nets would indeed move to the Prudential Center for the 2010â€"11 NBA season. On February 18, 2010, the Nets finalized a deal to move to the Prudential Center, where the team played for two seasons before the Barclays Center was completed in 2012 and the team officially relocated to Brooklyn. The final NBA event at the Prudential Center before the Nets' move to Brooklyn was the 2012 NBA Draft, held on June 28, 2012.

Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil scored the arena's first goal, while Brian Gionta scored the first goal for the Devils in a 4â€"1 Ottawa victory. The first hat-trick in Prudential Center history was netted by Jay Pandolfo, in a 6â€"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 4â€"1 win over against the Carolina Hurricanes. It wasn't until 2012 when the Devils won their first playoff series at the Rock, against the Florida Panthers. For select Devils home games, the arena's practice rink is open to fans after the game for public ice skating.

The Prudential Center also hosted the East Regional of the 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.

The WNBA's New York Liberty played home games at the Prudential Center during the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons, due to renovations at Madison Square Garden.

In November 2007 and 2008, the Center hosted the semifinals and finals of college basketball's Legends Classic. The arena also hosts the NJSIAA Public A, Public B, and Private State Finals for high school ice hockey.

The Amerihealth Pavilion plays home to the Saint Peter's Prep Mauraders hockey teams as well as other local youth teams.

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 8â€"6 over the Detroit Ignition.

The UFC held UFC 78 on November 17, 2007; one of the first events to take place at the new arena. It marked the first UFC event in New Jersey in two years. It also played host to UFC 111, which took place on March 27, 2010. On March 19, 2011, it hosted UFC 128, and hosted UFC 159 on April 27, 2013. The arena is also scheduled to host UFC 169 on February 1, 2014.

Notable events

The McDonald's Gospelfest, the nation's largest gospel music competition, has taken place at the arena since 2008.

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.

Democratic Governor Jon Corzine held a rally on November 1, 2009, 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.

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.

In June 2011, it played host to the Newark audition stages in the first season of the Fox talent search program The X Factor. The open auditions were held on April 14.

The arena hosted the East Regional semifinals and final of the 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. However, this will likely be the last NCAA tournament game held in New Jersey in the near future due to a 2012 law that allows single-game betting on professional and collegiate games. NCAA rules do not allow tournament games to be held in states that allow single-game betting.

On June 23, 2011, the arena hosted the 2011 NBA Draft, marking the second time the NBA Draft was held in New Jersey. They held the NBA Draft once again the following year on June 28, 2012.

The 2012 Stanley Cup Finals were played at the Prudential Center for the first time in its history, featuring the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils, hosting Games 1, 2, and 5. This marks the first time the Devils have played in the finals since their move from the Continental Airlines Arena.

The Rolling Stones broadcast their final show of their 50th anniversary tour live on pay-per-view from the arena on December 15, 2012.

The 2013 NHL Entry Draft was held at the Prudential Center.

The National Football League used the arena for Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day on January 28, 2014 instead of the game's site, nearby MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

Features


Prudential Center

Design

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. 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. 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. 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.

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 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. The rink area features four LED ribbons and an eight-sided scoreboard equipped with high-definition video displays from Daktronics. The 76 luxury suites available are the largest in North America. Personal dining, WiFi, and high-definition televisions are some of the many conveniences available in the luxury suites. There are 750 flat-screen televisions in total across the arena.

On each side of the lower bowl's three middle sections are 2,330 Club Seats. These black-colored seats are wider, with more legroom. 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. Additionally, the Goal Bar, located at Suite Level One offers Club and Goal Bar seat holders terrace-style seating in a bar environment. 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.

On the north, Edison Place side of the arena, at street level, are the ticket office and the Devils' 2,600 square foot (242 m²) Team Store, along with Championship Plaza, a public meeting place that celebrates the Devils' past and present successes on the ice. 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 is Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets) and the only one with dual locker rooms and practice facilities.

Championship Plaza and environs



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." The most prominent piece of the project is 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.

Much like the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Prudential Center was expected to boost Newark's urban renaissance. Small-scale projects in the immediate vicinity of the arena around Four Corners have led to the construction of new hotels, loft conversions, and a restaurant row. The development of Triangle Park, a city square originally proposed as the centerpiece of commercial and residential complex near the arena, has stagnated.

Accessibility and transportation



Located only two blocks from Newark Penn Station, the Prudential Center, like its other two major counterparts in the New York metropolitan area, Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center, is one of the most easily accessible arenas in the country. Access is provided 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. Via public transportation, Prudential Center is only 12 miles (19 km), or a 17-minute trip from downtown Manhattan in New York City. Approximately 9,066 parking spaces are within 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of the arena.

See also



  • Grant USA Tower, a proposed skyscraper in the 1980s planned for this site
  • Izod Center, the former home of the New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Nets, and the Seton Hall Pirates men's basketball team in East Rutherford
  • Red Bull Arena, a soccer stadium in the Newark suburb of Harrison, New Jersey for the New York Red Bulls soccer team, opened in March 2010.
  • Sports in Newark, New Jersey

References



External links



  • Prudential Center Home Page
  • An interactive guide to the arena
  • Economic and legal analysis of the Newark arena project (Shelterforce Magazine)


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