I am, of course, outraged. The New Jersey Devils, as you know, used to play at the Brendan Byrne Arena which became the Continental Airlines Arena. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority essentially ran the show as owners of that arena. All of those $10+ parking fees? Them. All of those construction delays and detours? Them. The lack of consideration for those going to and from the game? Them. The reason to charge high prices for tickets? Well, it wasn't all their fault - but they were a part of it. And I can't imagine it was any better for the tenets of the arena. It was the horrible management of the NJSEA was, as I understand it, a reason as to why the Devils organization built their own stadium; why the New York Red Bulls are building their own in Harrison; and why the Nets are moving to Brooklyn.
So the Devils move over to Newark, to the brand-new Prudential Center in Newark. This gives many New Jerseyans like myself and non-New Jerseyans alike an actual reason to go to Newark at night. Has the arena been a sell-out every night? No. However, you can't tell me that 15,000 to 16,000 coming to Newark at night during the week or on the weekends hasn't provided any benefit to the city.
But now this comes along. The reasons for this are for "traffic control and security costs." I can understand both come with their own costs; but why in the hell should the paying fans - the fans who will come to spend money to get to the city, to spend it in the city of Newark - have to suffer this cost? Will season ticket holders have to pay an extra fee? Will a family wanting to go to a Devils, already balking at tickets at about $65 in the median (I may be wrong, but it's definitely not cheap), want to pay even more per ticket to go to a game? I'll look at the numbers later, but I really don't believe this tax will serve to provide the state more money. If anything, it'll be more of a reason for people to not go to Newark and to not enjoy a Devils game or a Seton Hall Pirates game or a New Jersey Ironman game or a concert or some other event at the Prudential Center. That's potential money that the city of Newark will lose - and the state of New Jersey will not get.
But tell that to the legislature. I don't think they won't listen. The bill is being fast-tracked apparently, and it's being reported in the news likely well after any real chances to kill it. So get ready to deal with even higher prices because some know-nothing legislator deemed it so, with their reality-and-common-sense challenged legislator colleagues ready to sign on. I'm sure the "traffic control and security costs" could be made up with improved financial organization or even charging the organization more. Making the fans pay the cost, which will undoubtedly give people on-the-fence about the arena a big reason to not come, is absolutely short-sighted and stupid.
Thanks, New Jersey. Even without the NJSEA, you continue to stick it to an organization who has brought a lot of goodwill and pride to the state, as well as it's fans and visitors.
ASIDE: I'd like to point out that the bill does not include a similar tax for visitors to the Izod Arena or Giants Stadium. The Devils' Prudential Center are being specifically targeted.
Labels: Devils Issues, Prudential Center