"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Monday, March 06, 2006

Corzine Wants Better Stadium Deal For New Jersey

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know how we feel about the Meadowlands stadium deal former Governor Codey negotiated with the two New York football teams – the Giants and the Jets. You can read more about the tentative terms of the deal here. But in a nutshell, the football teams make a killing and New Jersey taxpayers take a beating.

George Zoffinger, the chief executive of the sports authority, was a vociferous critic of what he described as the one-sided nature of the new deal. But he was overruled by Mr. Codey. "It's 183 for the Giants and the Jets to five for the state of New Jersey," said Zoffinger.
We have been advocating for Governor Corzine to step in before it’s too late and renegotiate a deal more favorable to the state. Today we found good news:
“Gov. Jon Corzine does not like the new football stadium deal; he wants more money for the state; more taxes for East Rutherford; and a roof on anything built.”

Now, according to three top state officials, Corzine wants an increase in rent and property tax payments. He also wants to make the teams build a $100 million roof so the stadium could host a Super Bowl and the Final Four college basketball tournament.

At the same time, East Rutherford Mayor James Casella said last week his borough wants at least $8 million a year in property taxes -- six times what the teams originally agreed to.
Look for the Giants and Jets to make threats to sue the state and continue their spin about how this deal is “more favorable to the state of New Jersey and the taxpayers than any stadium deal ever.” That ought to give you some idea of how bad stadium deals are for taxpayers everywhere.

Governor Corzine can now press the state’s advantage. The longer negations are drawn out, the more it costs the Giants and Jets. And New Jersey can continue to collect revenue that would be lost if the deal went though unchanged.

Each year the Giants and Jets play in the existing stadium is another year they will not collect a projected $183 million in total revenue from a new, yet-to-be-named stadium. That is more than double what each team now collects in stadium-related revenue.
One more thing we’d like to add to Corzine’s negations list – the “New York” has to be dropped from the teams’ names and replaced with “New Jersey.” No name change, no deal.

We are with you all the way on this one Governor Corzine – go for it!


At 11:34 AM, Blogger njgalaxie73 said...

I couldn't agree more Enlighten. Although I part ways with you as far as my Jets go. They are the New YORK Jets no matter what! Football is my religion so go offending me and making me cry like Adam Alright!?;-) All kidding adise though, other than the obvious marketing reasons, the main reason both franchises continue to call themselves New York is because their respective front offices still operate out of New York. The Giants are headquartered in Albany and the Jets in Heampstead.

Anyway, I think that this clearly illustrates to whiny liberals that we're not, "Brainwashed Conservatives", who hate everything Corzine does just because he's a Democrat. I too think he got it right on this one.

Building a new stadium is all well and good but what's the point of making the taxpayers flip the bill for it when all you're doing is upgrading from a Ford Taurus to Mercury Sable!? If you're going to make a deal with the state of New Jersey don't stiff taxpayers and football fans alike just to build another open air stadium that will have less seating for the real fans to make room for highly expensive luxury suites and skyboxes. Make this deal worth it for everyone involved and flip a bigger part of the bill if getting this deal really means that much to you.

Personally, as a lifelong Jet fan whose team has given me nothing but grief and frustration in my short 25 years on this earth, I would like to see the front office more devoted to putting a winning product on the field than putting all of their energy into a deal like this! A state of the art facility with a retractable roof hasn't won the Detroit Lions a Super Bowl yet and it wont win the Jets or Giants one either!

It's a matter of priority in New Jersey right now and taxpayers can't afford anymore bad deals. Score one for Corzine.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger nightfly said...

As far as "New York v. New Jersey" goes, there's no shot. The NFL required it as part of the deals for the teams to move out of the city and to the Meadowlands.

But spin is probably not the best word for what the Giants and Jets have done with this deal, because in effect their claim is true - this is the best new stadium deal any city or state has gotten for many a year. Let me plagiarize myself here:

"[there were] 26 new stadia built between 1998 and 2003... Only TWO of those stadia were paid for wholly by the teams. The taxpayer put up part of the scratch for 18. They paid the entire cost six times, either through floated bond issues, new fees, or an actual tax hike. ...

The Giants, on the other hand, will build their entire stadium themselves and pay $6.3 million a year in rent. It's a good deal for the team, of course, when you factor in the state's assumed costs to build the necessary roads, but in the sports world, this is the best you're going to get."

[note - the link to the NY Daily News story mentioned in this post has expired in the 10 months since I wrote it. The $6.3 mil I quoted is the $5M in rent and the $1.3M in lieu of taxes per year.]

If Corzine had half this energy confronting the patronage and corruption in the government, I'd have voted for him myself. Instead, it's easier (and more popular) for him to take on the Giants (let's face it, they're the prime movers). It also gives him a chance to tweak Codey by challenging the deal he signed. This isn't fiscally motivated, it's a grandstand play.

Put another way - I well understand why the Giants would be upset here. They've been the centerpiece of the Meadowlands since they arrived. They're hands down one of the classiest franchises in professional sports. They aren't out to bend Jersey over a barrel, and now Corzine is looking to reneg on their deal.

The end result is that the state will cost itself a lot of goodwill from the team and the league, and LOSE money to boot from having to pay for the inevitable legal wrangles - without changing the deal. Without the Giants, who draws fans to the Sports Complex? The Devils? They may move anyway. The Nets? They're already moving to Brooklyn.

It isn't out of the realm of possibility that, if the state presses too hard, that the Giants can accomplish what the Jets could not - get a stadium built on the West Side of Manhattan and go there.

I understand your argument, and especially the concern many have about pro teams in general not being the financial engine most cities hope for. It's part of why Los Angeles has never cared for trying to get an NFL team after the Rams left. But, if we grant that "stadium deals are [bad] for taxpayers everywhere," then what's wrong with the least bad stadium deal? Or rather, what's wrong with it that can be realistically corrected? The state's debt on the old stadium exists whether the new one is built or not; the ad revenue and such from the stadium ought to belong to the teams, since they're the product that sells the advertisers' products (and the stadium is theirs since none of it is publicly financed). The infrastructure cost is something a state would pick up anyway for any new construction. If the state chose to accept $1.3 mil instead of taxes on the proceeds they were dumb as rocks (big shock there); but the unfairness of that is that other businesses don't get similar breaks and many are choosing to leave NJ (such as Lenox) rather than get soaked.

At 9:06 PM, Blogger jay lassiter said...

The Gov is coming to Rowan U tomorrow nite and i suspect this issue will be raised. I'll shoot you a note and letcha know.

With regards to the name change, i read that and i was like DUH! Ok, it was more of a "Eureka" than a "duh." But i agree 200% on that. seems like it would be a much more popular and pallatable evil of the teams bore our name. seems like wishful thinkin'


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