For a chunk of change, a piece of "The Rock" will be the next home of the New Jersey Devils (Ice Hockey team). Prudential Financial Inc. and the NHL team on Monday announced the company will pay $105.3 million over 20 years to call the Devils' new arena the Prudential Center.
The $375 million downtown venue, under construction nearly across the street from the world headquarters of the life insurance and investment giant, is expected to open for the 2007-2008 season.
"As far as I'm concerned, you can't get a better name," team owner Jeff Vanderbeek said.
Prudential CEO Arthur F. Ryan said the company wanted to be associated with a world-class arena and a team that has won three Stanley Cups since 1995. He said deepening Prudential's ties to its home city was more important than increasing recognition of an already well-known company.
"Very frankly, Prudential doesn't need that," Ryan said. "So we had to look a little bit deeper. Part of it, of course, started with Newark. We've been here 130 years."
Ryan also said he doesn't mind if the arena is referred to as "The Rock," after the company's symbol of the Rock of Gibraltar.
"We're going to put 'Prudential Center' up there. I suspect someone before long will be calling it 'The Rock,' and that's fine with us," he said after a news conference Monday. "That's been our icon for over 100 years and we're not uncomfortable with that."
The city of Newark is contributing $210 million to the arena, which was initially expected to cost $310 million. The Devils are paying for cost overruns, Vanderbeek said.
The arena is to seat 17,625 people for hockey games, 18,500 for basketball games and 19,500 for concerts. Amenities are to include a 350-seat restaurant, 2,200 club seats and 78 luxury suites.
The Devils now play at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford. The NHL team shares the building with the New Jersey Nets, whose new owner is moving forward with plans to build an arena for the NBA team in Brooklyn, N.Y.