New Jersey Sports Board Votes to Close Struggling Izod Center as Union Members, Pols Cry Foul

New Jersey officials have voted to close the Izod Center at the Meadowlands by the end of the month for a two-year period, though it's not clear if the struggling arena will ever reopen.

The 18,000-seat indoor arena that sits across a highway from MetLife Stadium once was home to the NHL's New Jersey Devils and NBA's New Jersey Nets, and once hosted the NCAA basketball Final Four.

But in recent years it has lost business to the Prudential Center in Newark and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Under the plan agreed upon Thursday, Izod's business will shift to Prudential.

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates the arena, met Thursday and voted 10-2 in favor of closing the arena, which it says is projected to lose $8.5 million this year.

Critics, including union members and Democratic state senators Loretta Weinberg and Paul Sarlo, told board members they should have asked operators to bid on taking over the arena.

East Rutherford Mayor Jim Cassella called the board's decision "hurtful to Bergen County."

Mike Ferguson, chairman of the NJSEA, called the closure an "awful situation" but said the "brightest days for this arena are in front of it, not behind it."  

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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