The New York Sun: Newark Takes a Hard Lesson In the Pro Stadium Game.
It seems Newark Mayor-elect Cory Booker never did make it to those sports business management classes during his days as a Rhodes scholar or at Yale’s law school. It might have saved him some aggravation in dealing with major league sports owners.
Booker, who takes office on Saturday, is thinking about backing out of the agreement that outgoing Mayor Sharpe James cut with New Jersey Devils owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek to build a Newark arena for the hockey team. Why not welcome the Devils to Newark with open arms? Because James bought the city a major league franchise that won’t have the word Newark in its name or on its arena, and he did it for a questionable price.
Vanderbeek is putting up $100 million for the stadium, which will cost at least $300 million in total, but Booker isn’t sure that’s enough to relieve Newark of the financial burden that comes with building an arena for a private business. Booker is probably right that Newark has been saddled with a bad deal, but pulling the plug on the construction of a building that broke ground last fall sends a bad message to captains of industry like Vanderbeek: Newark simply doesn’t want their business.