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Izod Center
Izod Center.PNG
IZOD Center.jpg
The Izod Center as seen from a nearby parking garage
Former names Brendan Byrne Arena (1981–1996)
Continental Airlines Arena (1996–2007)
Location 50 Route 120, East Rutherford, New Jersey 07073
Coordinates 40°48′42″N 74°4′3″W / 40.81167°N 74.0675°W / 40.81167; -74.0675Coordinates: 40°48′42″N 74°4′3″W / 40.81167°N 74.0675°W / 40.81167; -74.0675
Broke ground 1977
Opened July 2, 1981
Owner New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority
Operator New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority
Construction cost $85 million
Architect Grad Partnership and Dilullo, Clauss, Ostroki & Partners
Capacity 20,049 (NBA Basketball)
20,029 (NCAA Basketball)
19,040 (Hockey)
20,000 (Concerts)
New Jersey Nets (NBA) (1981–present)
New Jersey Devils (NHL) (1982–2007)
Seton Hall Pirates (NCAA Basketball) (1985–2007)

The Izod Center (formerly Brendan Byrne Arena and Continental Airlines Arena) is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States. Opened in 1981, it is one of the oldest arenas in the NBA and is currently home to the New Jersey Nets NBA basketball team. The arena was formerly home to the New Jersey Devils NHL hockey team until 2007, when they moved to the Prudential Center in Newark. Official seating capacity, as of 2009, is 20,029 for college basketball, 20,049 for NBA games, and a maximum of 20,000 for concerts. The arena attracts spectators and fans from New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area. Because of the history of name changes, the arena is often referred to simply as the Meadowlands Arena.

The Izod Center is a popular concert and family show venue. In 2009, it hosted sold-out performances by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Dave Matthews Band, The Jonas Brothers, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, and Nickelback. It is consistently ranked in the top four arenas nationally by Billboard magazine in their annual compilation of gross sales for concerts and family shows.



Construction on a new arena across Route 20 (now 120) from Giants Stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack began in 1977. The arena was designed by Grad Partnership and Dilullo, Clauss, Ostroki & Partners, and was constructed at a cost of $85 million. Originally named Brendan Byrne Arena (after Brendan Byrne, the sitting governor of the state, who was also a member of the ownership group seeking to bring an NHL team to the State), the arena opened July 2, 1981, with the first of six concerts by New Jersey rock musician Bruce Springsteen. This was followed by an ice show later that month.

On October 30, 1981, the New Jersey Nets, who had played their previous four seasons at the Louis Brown Athletic Center at Rutgers University, relocated to the Meadowlands and made their Brendan Byrne Arena debut, losing to the New York Knicks, 103-99. Later that season, on January 31, 1982, the NBA All-Star Game was hosted at the arena. Shortly after, the New Jersey Devils, relocated from Colorado, playing their first regular season game there on October 5,resulting in a 3–3 tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The arena's architecture features sharp, cantilevered corners which also serve as the entrance gates.

On January 4, 1996, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority announced a naming rights deal with Continental Airlines under which the airline, with a hub at nearby Newark Liberty International Airport, would pay the NJSEA $29 million over 12 years.

The name change to Continental Airlines Arena also caused controversy in April of that year, when the arena hosted the NCAA Final Four. During the CBS coverage of the event, Continental signage was not shown on camera, and the arena was simply referred to as "The Meadowlands". CBS and the NCAA already had airline sponsors for the event before Continental's naming rights deal.

On May 5, 2007, the Devils played their last game at the arena, losing 3-2 to the Ottawa Senators, eliminating them from the Eastern Conference semifinals 4-1. Scott Gomez scored the final goal in the building. The Devils subsequently relocated to the newly constructed Prudential Center in nearby Newark, New Jersey at the beginning of the 2007–08 NHL season.

Following the Devils' final season at the arena in 2007, Continental Airlines opted out of the naming rights agreement. A new agreement was made with Izod, a clothing company, to rename the arena Izod Center. The company will pay $1.4 million per annum for the first two years of the agreement, while the Nets are still tenants, which will drop to $750,000 per year for the balance of the five-year deal.[1] The columns of the arena's exterior were also repainted red as the arena assumed a new color scheme.


Future plans

The Izod Center with the under-construction Meadowlands Xanadu on March 14, 2009

There are currently plans in place to downscale the Izod Center in conjunction with several developments, leaving much of the arena's future in doubt. In addition to the Devils and Seton Hall men's basketball teams moving to the Prudential Center in Newark and the construction of an alternative entertainment and shopping center on the Meadowlands grounds called Xanadu Meadowlands, the Nets are planning to relocate to the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

The Barclays Center is the center of an extensive redevelopment project called the Atlantic Yards being built by Nets owner Bruce Ratner's real estate development company. Originally, the arena was planned to be open for the Nets for the 2009–10 season, but lawsuits, economic issues, and a recession have plagued the project. The earliest the franchise would relocate to Brooklyn would be 2011, although these plans are still in doubt.[2]

In September 2006, the team and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority announced an extension of their lease to keep the team in the Meadowlands until 2013, with a provision to leave as early as 2009 if the Brooklyn arena is completed. It has been reported that Ratner has sought to sell the Nets, thus thwarting any possible move to Brooklyn.[3] Recently, Newark mayor Cory Booker and Devils owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek have called for the closing of the Izod Center because it is a competing venue to the Prudential Center for events, and that it is a "drain on taxpayers."[4]

Due to the success of two preseason Nets games played at the Prudential Center in October 2009, a deal is in the works to have the Nets play in Newark for two seasons beginning in the 2010-11 NBA season. The deal would result in the Prudential Center hosting sporting events (Devils, Nets, Seton Hall), and the Izod Center handling concerts and family shows. The two arenas would form a joint venture, Jersey Presents LLC, and wrestle leverage from promoters who had been playing the two against each other.[5] “You can’t have two venues that close together fighting each other and have that be productive for the state,” said Jerry Zaro, economic czar to New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, who is brokering the deal.[6]

Arena usage


The arena, when it was named Continental Airlines Arena, during a college basketball game

The arena has primarily served as a sports venue in its history. The arena has been the home of the NBA's New Jersey Nets basketball franchise since 1981. It was the home arena for the NHL's New Jersey Devils hockey franchise from 1982 to 2007 and the NCAA's Seton Hall Pirates men's basketball team from 1985 to 2007 as well as continuing to play host to various regular season men's college basketball games, most recently on December 20, 2008. Izod Center uses two separate floors for NBA and NCAA basketball- a standard hardwood floor for Nets games and the arena's old parquet floor for regular season college basketball (since 2007, the NCAA has used a uniform floor for regional sites).

College basketball first arrived at the arena with the opening rounds of the 1984 NCAA basketball tournament. Seton Hall moved its Big East Conference men's basketball games to the arena for the 1985–1986 season, enhancing a tradition that would soon become rich. The arena hosted the NCAA Men's Final Four in 1996, the last traditional arena to do so to date. On eleven occasions (1986–91, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2004, 2007) the arena hosted the semifinals and finals of the tournament's East Regional. Only Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium, which hosted 13 regional finals from 1940–52, has hosted more.[7] It also hosted the 1982–1989 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and 1986 Atlantic Ten Conference men's basketball tournaments.

One of the most infamous moments in the venue's history came on January 22, 1987, when the "334 club" was formed. After New Jersey was hit with 20 inches of snow, only 334 fans attended the Devils' 7–5 victory over the Calgary Flames.

Other teams that have called the arena home include the New Jersey Rockets of the Major Soccer League, the New Jersey Rockin Rollers of Roller Hockey International, and the New Jersey Red Dogs / Gladiators of the Arena Football League. Two different National Lacrosse League teams have played at the arena — the New Jersey Saints from 1987–1988, and the New Jersey Storm from 2002–2003. The New York Cosmos also used the arena to host indoor soccer games.


Izod Center has played host to the 1995, 2000, 2001, and 2003 Stanley Cup Finals. The arena has seen the Devils clinch two of their three Stanley Cup championships before a home crowd, winning Game 4 of the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals and Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals here (the Devils' other Stanley Cup win took place at Dallas' Reunion Arena in Game 6 of the 2000 Finals). The arena also was host to the Los Angeles Lakers winning an NBA Championship by sweeping the Nets on June 12, 2002,[8] and the Anaheim Bullfrogs winning the 1997 Murphy Cup, the championship of Roller Hockey International, over the New Jersey Rockin' Rollers. The arena also hosted the 2003 NBA Finals. Izod Center is the most recent of five venues to host the Stanley Cup Final and NBA Finals at the same time, the other four are Boston Garden, Madison Square Garden in New York, Wachovia Spectrum in Philadelphia and Chicago Stadium.


Brendan Byrne Arena officials placed a large "Welcome Home Bruce" sign on their structure during the 1992 shows of the Bruce Springsteen and the "Other Band" Tour.

The arena has been a popular site for concerts, due to it having been designed with acoustics in mind and to it having a lesser facility fee for artists than competing venues, such as Madison Square Garden. Jersey native Bruce Springsteen remains one of the most popular concert acts to perform in the arena; his appearances have included a 10-night, sold-out run in 1984, an 11-night run in 1992, and a 15-night, sold-out run in 1999. This last feat is commemorated by a large banner hanging from the rafters, next to the banners representing the achievements of the resident sports teams. Queen played one of their final US shows with original lead singer Freddie Mercury here in 1982 as part of their Hot Space Tour. Queen + Paul Rodgers played here in 2005 as one of the only two North American dates that year. This also marked the first concert by Queen since 1982 in the US. The arena also hosted three shows of Michael Jackson's Bad World Tour. A 1999 concert by Dave Matthews Band was recorded for a PBS special, and subsequently released as a concert album and DVD under the name Listener Supported. Portions of the Rolling Stones 1983 concert film Let's Spend the Night Together were filmed at the arena.[9] The concert footage was filmed in the fall of 1981. The Red Hot Chili Peppers chose the Izod Center as the venue to film their video "Snow ((Hey Oh))", including shots of the stairwells and tunnels of the stadium. In 2008 Madonna kicked off her North American leg of her highly successful Sticky & Sweet Tour. On July 14 and 15 of 2009, New Jersey natives the Jonas Brothers performed their 2009 World Tour at the arena. Kiss performed there on June 27, 2000, as part of their farewell tour; the show was filmed and is available on the Kissology Volume Three: 1992–2000 box set.

Other events

The venue also hosted WWF/E SummerSlam in 1989, 1997 and 2007, as well as the King of the Ring tournament in 2001 and No Mercy 2004. The arena has also hosted several episodes of WWE Raw, as well as WWE Friday Night SmackDown. WCW held events at the arena from 1990 to 1992, at which time the WWF returned. Also WWE is to Host WWE's upcoming taping of Friday Night Smackdown, at the Izod center on December 29, 09.

Other uses

Continental Airlines operates a ticketing counter in the Izod Center.[10]

Fairleigh Dickinson University, Montclair State University, and Seton Hall University, hold commencement ceremonies in the Izod Center.

Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey

The Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey was established in 1988 to honor athletes, teams, events and contributors associated with the state of New Jersey. There is currently no physical site or structure for the hall, but its members are honored with plaques that are displayed at Izod Center.

Public perception

The former Continental Airlines Arena signage

Izod Center frequently is cited near the bottom of arena polls. It is commonly referred to as "cold and dull" in appearance, as well as being "cavernous".[11] In a 2005 poll, USA Today rated it the worst arena in the NBA. The reviewer lamented about the distance of the nosebleed seats from the court, as well as how crowded the concourse became after the game.[12] The arena's poor perception has played a role in the downscaling of the arena.

The arena has also been criticized for funneling both levels of the arena into one, crowded concourse. Hockey players and fans alike acknowledged the poor ice quality of Izod Center, which was common of many hockey arenas used for other sports. The difficulty arose when converting the playing surface from wood to ice.

On the other hand, the arena is generally well-regarded for concerts, with its good sightlines and relatively good acoustics.


  1. ^ "Fashionable New Name for Arena". The New York Times ( October 5, 2007. Retrieved October 11, 2007.  
  2. ^ "Economy, uncertain financing delay plans for Brooklyn arena". 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2008-12-08.  
  3. ^ Isola, Frank; Lawrence, Mitch (2008-10-27). "Bruce Ratner explored Nets sale". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2008-12-08.  
  4. ^ "Devils Owner Vanderbeek Joins Calls For Izod Center Closing". 2009-06-01.  
  5. ^ "Prudential Center vs. Izod Center: Proper end to N.J.'s dueling arena saga". Newark Star-Ledger. 2009-10-27.  
  6. ^ Brennan, John (2009-10-22). "Prudential Center, Izod Center truce appears imminent". Bergen Record.  
  8. ^ 2002 NBA Playoff Summary -
  9. ^ Let's Spend the Night Together (1983)
  10. ^ "Continental Ticket Offices." Continental Airlines. February 1, 2009.
  11. ^ Boeck, Greg (September 12, 2005). "Nets look for gains when it comes to ticketholders". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  12. ^ Boeck, Greg (2005-04-12). "NBA arenas: Fantastic or not?". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-12-08.  

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