East Rutherford, N.J. – After months of negotiations, the Giants and the state of New Jersey have agreed on a deal for a new $750 million stadium.
- Governor Richard J. Codey The 80,000-seat stadium, which will be built on an as yet unspecified location very close to the current Giants Stadium, will be privately financed. Ideally, the stadium will be ready for the 2008 NFL season, though John Mara, the Giants Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, said "realistically, I don't know if that's possible - 2009 might be a more reasonable assumption." Mara said he does not expect construction to begin for at least a year.
The stadium is expected to include 200 state-of-the-art luxury suites, 8,000-10,000 club seats, more dining options, superior concessions stands, more comfortable restrooms and much wider and more comfortable concourses. The new complex will also house improved and larger practice and training facilities for the team, as well as a Giants Hall of Fame and a team store.
At a news conference today, Mara, Steve Tisch, representing Tisch family ownership, Governor Richard J. Codey and New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority Chairman Carl Goldberg signed a memorandum of understanding covering the development of the new, privately financed sports and entertainment stadium.
"We are very pleased to have signed this agreement that will ensure that the Meadowlands will continue to be our home for many years to come," Mara said. "As we have said repeatedly throughout this process, we were the first tenants here, and it was always our desire to stay. This agreement provides us with the opportunity to do just that.
"At the same time, it makes it possible for our fans to enjoy a stadium that will be second to none in the NFL. The stadium will also be a world-class venue to be enjoyed by all the citizens in this area – not only for football, but for concerts, international soccer games and other such events."
"For our fans and for our organization, it has been our strong desire to stay in what has become over the past 30 years our home," said Steve Tisch. "We very much appreciate the Governor's and Carl Goldberg's efforts to work with us to resolve the issues that separated us so we could move this extremely beneficial agreement forward. We are confident that this memorandum of understanding will form the basis for a definitive and mutually beneficial agreement on a new Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands."
Codey – who called the Giants' first game in Giants Stadium a "defining moment in New Jersey's history" – was effusive when he announced the deal.
"I am proud to announce a new agreement that will keep the Giants in New Jersey, where they belong," Codey said. "This agreement paves the way for a world-class stadium that will be home to the Giants for at least the next 40 years and ensures that this facility will be an integral part of the sports complex for generations to come."
Unlike other recent stadium ventures in the NFL, the Giants' new home will require no taxpayer money. The Giants will pay the NJSEA $6.3 million a year rent for the land.
"This is the best deal for taxpayers of any stadium deal in the NFL," Codey said. "It's truly a win for New Jersey, for New Jersey residents and for the future of sports in our state. The Giants, not the taxpayers, are putting up more than $750 million for the construction of this new facility."
There has already been much speculation about ticket prices and the possibility of personal seat licenses (PSLs) in a new stadium. Mara said today that "our present financing plans do not call for the sale of PSLs. Whether they will in the future, I can't say for sure. We would like to be able to finance this thing without PSLs."
Giants president Wellington Mara, who has always championed the cause of Giants fans, said it is premature to speculate about such issues.
"As much as I like the current Giants Stadium, I am very happy we have come to an agreement with the state of New Jersey to build a new stadium," Wellington Mara said. "It has been reported that ticket prices for a new stadium typically increase about 20 percent. Frankly, it is too early to speculate on how our price structure will change in a new stadium. But if there is a rise in ticket prices, I would expect a 100 percent increase in services to our fans."
Although today's agreement marked a huge step in the process to get a new stadium, some thorny issues remain to be decided before the plans are finalized.
"This was just the first hurdle," John Mara said. "We have a few more hurdles to go."
The Giants must reach an accord with Mills Corp. and Mack-Cali Realty, the developers of the $1.3 billion Xanadu retail and entertainment center being built on the Meadowlands grounds. The Giants insist Xanadu will aggravate an already unpleasant traffic situation and want the complex closed on game days. Last week, the Giants sued the developers in an effort to halt construction, which the Giants say wrongly began without their consent. That suit remains on schedule and a hearing is scheduled for May 5 or 6. The Giants hope to reach an agreement with the developers prior to that date.
"Our next step in this process is to sit down very quickly with the Mills and Mack-Cali people to try to reach an agreement with respect to our co-existence with Xanadu," said John Mara. "We're cautiously optimistic that we can do this, and we look forward to the discussions."
Another lawsuit, in which the Giants said the NJSEA had to pay to make Giants Stadium a state-of-the-art facility, has been stayed.
Copyright New York Giants 2005