New Meadowlands Stadium

MetLife Stadium is a stadium in the New York City Metropolitan Area. It is part of the MetLife Sports Complex, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It is the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets of the National Football League and is adjacent to the site of the former Giants Stadium, which was home to the Giants from 1976 until 2009 and the Jets from 1984 until 2010. Like its predecessor, the new stadium is the only NFL stadium shared by two teams. However, unlike Giants Stadium in which the Jets were a junior partner, the new stadium is a 50/50 partnership between both NFL teams, and while the stadium is owned by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority on paper, the two teams jointly built the stadium using private funds, and administer it jointly through New Meadowlands Stadium Corporation. The stadium opened as New Meadowlands Stadium on April 10, 2010 when it featured the Big City Classic lacrosse event. In 2011, MetLife, an insurance company based in New York City, acquired the naming rights to the stadium. At a construction cost of approximately $1.6 billion, it is the most expensive sports stadium ever built, and is the largest stadium in the NFL in terms of permanent seating capacity.

On May 25, 2010, it was announced that Super Bowl XLVIII was awarded to this stadium, the first time a Super Bowl would be played in the New York metropolitan area, and the first time that a non-domed stadium in the northern United States would host the biggest American football game in the professional ranks.

History

As Giants Stadium approached 30 years of age, it was becoming one of the older stadiums in the NFL. The New York Jets, who had been the lesser tenants in the Meadowlands, sought to have their own stadium built. The proposed West Side Stadium would have been built in Manhattan proper, but with significant public funding required. When that fell through, the Jets entered into a partnership with the Giants to build a new stadium that the two teams would share on equal footing.

Design

The stadium is distinguished by an outer skin of aluminum louvers and by interior lighting that switches colors depending on which team is playing at home. Essentially, unlike Giants Stadium, MetLife Stadium can easily be converted from a Giants game to a Jets game or vice versa within a matter of hours . This is a technique originated at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, which is shared between the city's two major soccer teams, Bayern Munich and 1860 Munich. The special louvers and the associated hanging system were custom designed and manufactured by Architectural Wall Systems of Des Moines, Iowa, and Overgaard Ltd. of Hong Kong. The total linear amount of louvers is exactly 50,000 meters (50 kilometers) or 163,681 feet (31.1 miles). Front row 50 yard line seats are 46 feet (14 m) away from the sideline, which is the shortest distance of all NFL Stadiums. The actual changing of the field decorations is about an 18 hour process that involves two 4-man crews rolling up 40 sections of FieldTurf that make up the teams' respective endzones.

Unlike a number of other new NFL venues, MetLife Stadium does not have a roof, as proposals to include a roof failed due to a dispute over funding. Thus, indoor events such as the Final Four cannot be held at the facility, which runs counter to the original aims for a new stadium in northern New Jersey.

Twenty giant high-definition-ready light emitting diode (LED) pylons designed, manufactured and installed by Daktronics at the north and east entrances display videos of each team, depending on which is playing. The pylons measure approximately 54 feet (16 m) high by 20 feet (6.1 m) wide. Inside, four 30 feet (9.1 m) by 116 feet (35 m) video displays from Daktronics, which incorporate high definition video technology, hang from each corner of the upper deck.

The new stadium has seating for 82,566 fans, including 10,005 club seats and approximately 218 luxury suites, making it the largest NFL stadium in total seating.

Lease terms

The lease for the new stadium is for 25 years, with options to extend it that could eventually reach 97 years. After the 15th year of the lease, every five years, one of the two teams may opt out of the lease, giving the state 12 months notice. However, if one team leaves for a new stadium, the other team would have to remain for the remainder of the lease. Based on the teams' histories, this clause presumably allows the Jets to eventually decide that they want to play in their own stadium and leave if they can find a way to finance it, although the high cost of the stadium and relocation of team facilities to New Jersey makes this unlikely. It is unknown if the lease starts upon construction or upon the stadium's opening. The teams also get parking revenue from the Meadowlands' western parking lots year round, even when there are no events at the stadium (this would occur when other parts of the Meadowlands host events).

Transportation

The Meadowlands Rail Line operates on event days between the newly constructed Meadowlands Station and Hoboken Terminal via Secaucus Junction, where there is connecting service to Pennsylvania Station (New York City), Pennsylvania Station (Newark), and other New Jersey Transit rail operations. The line opened to the public on July 26, 2009.

Naming rights

Allianz, a financial services company based in Germany, expressed interest in purchasing naming rights to the stadium. The proposal was for a period of up to 30 years, and was estimated to be valued at somewhere between $20 million and $30 million USD. However, it sparked protests from New York's Jewish community (the largest outside of Israel) and the Anti-Defamation League, which opposed the move due to close ties in the past between Allianz and the government of Nazi Germany during World War II. However, Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum, secretary general of the North American Board of Rabbis, agreed that although survivors' sensibilities are understandable, a naming deal is legitimate. "I have found Allianz to be receptive, to be sensitive and a friend of the Jewish people today," he said. Allianz sponsors the venue that inspired the color-change technology for MetLife Stadium: Allianz Arena in Munich. No agreement was reached and talks between Allianz and the teams ended on September 12, 2008.

On June 10, 2010, TMZ.com reported that Ashley Madison, an online dating site marketed primarily to those already in a relationship and one that is famous for its numerous failed attempts to advertise with the league, made an offer to rename the stadium to AshleyMadison.com Stadium.

On June 27, 2011, it was reported that insurance company MetLife entered discussions to purchase naming rights to the stadium. The new name, "MetLife Stadium," became official when all parties signed a 25-year deal on August 23.

EPA agreement

In June 2009, the New Meadowlands Stadium Corporation and the EPA signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines plans to incorporate environmentally-friendly materials and practices into the construction and operation of MetLife Stadium. The agreement includes strategies to reduce air pollution, conserve water and energy, improve waste management, and reduce the environmental impact of construction. The goal of the agreement is to save the emission of nearly 1.68 million metric tons of carbon dioxide during the stadium's construction and its first year of operation. Under this agreement, the stadium construction must use around 40,000 tons of recycled steel, recycle 20,000 tons of steel from Giants Stadium, install seating made from recycled plastic and scrap iron, and reduce air pollution from construction vehicles by using cleaner diesel fuel, diesel engine filters, and minimizing engine idle times. Other goals of this agreement include providing mass transit options for fans and replacing traditional concession plates, cups and carries with compostable alternatives. The New Meadowlands Stadium Corporation will report the progress on its goals to EPA every six months. Based on the reports, EPA will quantify the benefits of the venue’s environmental efforts.

Super Bowl

MetLife Stadium will host Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014. The NFL requires that a Super Bowl hosting stadium must have a 50-degree climate or be held in an indoor climate-controlled facility. However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would waive this requirement. The stadium was allowed on the ballot because of a "unique, once-only circumstance based on the opportunity to celebrate the new stadium and the great heritage and history of the NFL in the New York region".

Notable moments
  • September 12, 2010: The Giants hosted the first NFL regular season game in the stadium's history against the Carolina Panthers, winning 31–18.
  • September 13, 2010: The Jets played their first game at the stadium against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football with a 10–9 loss.
  • November 14, 2010: The Giants' 33-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was delayed for 12 minutes due to a power failure at the stadium.
  • December 19, 2010: The Philadelphia Eagles stage a comeback against the Giants in their first ever visit to the stadium in what has become known as "Miracle at the New Meadowlands," coming back from being down 31–10 with about 8 minutes to go in the fourth quarter to win 38–31, capped off by DeSean Jackson's game winning punt return when time expired.
  • August 29, 2011: After a time change and a postponement due to Hurricane Irene the first ever MetLife Bowl was played at the stadium during Week 3 of the pre-season. The Jets defeated the Giants 17-3.
Other events

The first concert at the New Meadowlands was New Jersey natives Bon Jovi, who performed four shows at the venue on their The Circle Tour. The second concert at the stadium was Hot 97's Summer Jam. Eagles performed here on June 10 as part of their summer tour. U2 performed at the stadium on July 20, 2011 on their U2 360° Tour. The show was originally to be held on July 19, 2010, but had to be postponed following Bono's emergency back surgery. The show was the third to visit the Meadowlands on the U2 360° Tour, the first two being at Giants Stadium on September 23 and 24, 2009.

The stadium hosted a friendly soccer match between the United States and Brazil on August 10, 2010. Brazil won 2-0 in front of a near-sellout crowd of 77,223; the game was played on a temporary grass field. The stadium also hosted a friendly soccer match between the United States and Argentina on March 26, 2011. The match was tied 1-1 in front of a sellout crowd of 78,926.

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