The owners of the New York Jets and the New York Giants officially broke ground today on the first stadium in history designed to be the permanent home of two NFL franchises.
The $1.3 billion stadium — privately financed by Jets Development LLC and Giant Stadium LLC in a 50-50 joint venture — is scheduled for completion for the 2010 football season. It will seat 82,500 fans and host 20 NFL games per season, more than any other NFL stadium in the nation. It will also host numerous other events ranging from college football to international soccer, concerts.
New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, State Senate President Richard Codey, New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority Chairman Carl Goldberg and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell joined Jets Chairman and CEO Woody Johnson, Giants President and CEO John Mara and Giants Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch to unveil the design and sign a steel beam to kick off major construction. Dozens of additional public officials and special guests were also on hand for the ceremony, emceed by NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen.
The new facility will boast improved parking and transit options, enhanced tailgating opportunities, a new plaza radiating from the stadium filled with fan-centric activities, an intimate seating bowl and cutting-edge sound and signage. The 2.1 million-square-foot facility, which occupies 40 acres, is designed to be the most innovative and memorable spectator environment in professional sports.
The sleek profile of the technologically advanced stadium will transform its look game to game to reflect the color, spirit and heritage of each home team. The outward appearance of the stadium's eight-level aluminum-louvered exterior will be illuminated by the colors and iconic imagery of the team playing that day. This imagery will be projected on the spectacular Great Wall, a 40x400-foot frieze of panels visible through the louvers, as well as on 2,500 high-definition displays throughout the stadium plus 18,000 square feet of video display and a league-high four jumbo video boards in the bowl.
"Every aspect of a Sunday at the stadium will be radically different before fans even step foot inside," said Johnson. "Improved highway access and redesigned parking lots will make the trip to the Meadowlands more efficient. A brand new rail facility will also provide fans a quick and convenient travel alternative. Once at the stadium, fans will enjoy enhanced tailgating opportunities and a new plaza filled with activities for fans of all ages."
"Ensuring that the stadium would feel like home to both teams and both groups of fans was our goal and also one of the biggest challenges in the design of the stadium," said Tisch. "With a unique combination of design elements, both teams will now be at home at the epicenter of football in a setting unmatched anywhere in the country. Our ability to transform the building overnight also extends to not only meeting the needs of each team on gameday but becoming a neutral building on non-game days."
Mara said, "The design of the stadium and the seating bowl allows our fans the continued intimate feel of the current stadium, a characteristic that our players and fans love. Just like it is now for our fans, the open sightlines throughout will be enhanced by the four spectacular video screens in each corner. In addition, cutting edge sound systems, digital boards and electronic signage will work together to form an experience where everything has its place. The live experience will be unmatched anywhere in the NFL."
"We may dig up only a symbolic amount of dirt at today's groundbreaking but this event actually represents a massive mobilization of resources, time and energy," Gov. Corzine said. "For me, this new stadium exemplifies the very best in public-private partnerships. The Jets, the Giants and the State of New Jersey have developed a genuinely collaborative relationship to create the flagship stadium of the National Football League. This relationship is unique in the annals of the NFL and will create the best total fan experience in the league, bar none.
"Moreover," said Gov. Corzine, "the combination of the new stadium and the extraordinary Xanadu entertainment and retail complex here will form the most distinctive, enjoyable and exceptional family destination — right here in New Jersey."
"The stadium is a huge investment in the future of the Meadowlands and will anchor its overall revitalization," said Codey. "This world-class facility will be a beacon for the metropolitan region, attracting people for all types of events and providing fans with something to cheer about. New Jersey deserves nothing less."
"We are proud to call the Giants and Jets our home teams today and for years to come," said Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts. "But the Meadowlands won't only be an attraction on gamedays; it will serve as a year round destination for the entire tri-state area because of a brand new rail facility right in the heart of the Meadowlands Complex."
"It has been a pleasure to observe both franchises work together as true partners," said Goldberg. "Today's announcement against the backdrop of construction on the new stadium is a testament to the joint vision of both teams to create a venue that will showcase the very best of the NFL and will complement Xanadu and the entire Meadowlands complex."
Commissioner Goodell said, "This partnership between the Jets and Giants is unique not only for the NFL but in all of sports. A 100 percent privately financed stadium by two teams is unprecedented. Given the attention to detail that the ownership and their front office teams are putting into this stadium, it promises to be a first-class facility for Giants and Jets fans and a showcase for the NFL."
360 Architects, led by George Heinlein, is the design architect for the project and EwingCole is the architect of record. The world-renowned design team also includes wayfinding and fan experience designer Bruce Mau of Bruce Mau Design as well as interior designer David Rockwell of The Rockwell Group. Construction of the project is led by Skanska AB. The owners' representative is Tishman Lehrer.
NEW STADIUM HIGHLIGHTS
Approaching the Stadium
Newly configured parking lots and easier access to parking through improved traffic patterns will make for smoother and shorter rides to and from the stadium. Access lanes into the Meadowlands will nearly triple from 16 to more than 40.
For maximum efficiency the parking lots will provide more than 27,500 spaces and will radiate from the stadium with more direct, easier access through road circulation improvements, the introduction of inner- and middle-loop road systems and dedicated areas for permit and non-permit parking.
But driving won't be the only way to get to the stadium. A new rail facility will drop fans right at the front door, giving thousands of patrons a quick, convenient travel alternative. Fans can travel to the new stadium via the rail link from New York's Penn Station or Newark's Penn Station in under 20 minutes. Also, Metro North and other regional rail carriers are working on a one-seat ride to the new stadium.
Tailgating and the Plaza
Before and after the game there will be a whole new set of reasons to arrive early and stay late.
A 300,000-square-foot outdoor plaza will surround the entire stadium — filled with fan-centric activities and concessions including merchandise, new food and beverage options, restroom facilities and pregame entertainment. From the biggest and best barbecue you'll ever see to interactive games that pit you against your favorite NFL players, there will be something fun for fans of all ages.
Also planned for the future are new tailgating zones that will be linked to the stadium through pedestrian connections and will offer fans ever more ways to enjoy the hours before kickoff.
Inside the Stadium
A 400-foot-long, 40-foot-high Great Wall featuring brightly colored branding images of each team will serve as the grand entrance for gameday patrons.
Once inside the stadium, fans will encounter one dozen 16x9-foot high-definition video displays spread throughout the seven concourses and the outside plaza. Team stores will house 15,000 square feet of merchandise. Sponsor areas will occupy another 20,000 square feet of themed activities. Restaurants and bars will be spread around the building's interior. The two main concourses will expand to sizes ranging from 35 to 70 feet wide to accommodate fans as they enter, leave or congregate. Concession stands and restrooms will be located throughout the stadium.
When fans reach their seats, they will find a bowl design that strives to maintain the intimate feel of the current Meadowlands stadium, with front-row seating only 46 feet from the field's sidelines, uncompromised sightlines and unrestricted views of punts and the scoreboards.
A special field-level club between the 40-yard lines will provide fans even closer views of the gridiron and play host to postgame news conferences. Cutting-edge sound systems, digital boards and electronic signage as well as massive 40x130-foot LED video screens in each of the four stadium corners will keep fans inspired by the best action and information.