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Former Izod Center to become reherasal space thanks to Coldplay


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Former Izod Center's second act will be as rehearsal space, report says


Officials have found a new use for the now-shuttered Izod Center by offering it as a rental rehearsal space for musical acts, according to a report.


Artists will be able to pay to practice at the facility, now called the Meadowlands Arena, before big shows, The Record reported.


The idea was born after Coldplay rehearsed at the arena prior to a show at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on July 16, the report said. The plan is expected to bring some extra revenue from the facilty, which closed in January 2015.



Former Izod Center to serve as practice space for musical acts

EAST RUTHERFORD — The former Izod Center, which closed last year, has landed a new gig: It will be opening its doors to serve as a rehearsal space for musical artists.


Officials at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the Prudential Center on Thursday said they had reached an agreement to permit musical groups to pay to practice at the 35-year-old facility, renamed the Meadowlands Arena, before they perform locally or go on national tours.


In fact, Coldplay’s crew used the arena for two days of technical rehearsals before the British group performed at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on July 16.

“That kind of got the discussions started,” said Hugh Weber, president of the Prudential Center in Newark and the New Jersey Devils hockey team. “It got us thinking, ‘Well shoot, if there’s an opportunity here, let’s try to take advantage of it.’”


Wayne Hasenbalg, president of the sports authority, said that making the arena available for musical performers, or even photographers for shoots, is a “win-win” for the state, Prudential, local workers and area businesses.


It’s a chance for the state to generate revenue from a facility that is closed to the public, Hasenbalg said.


The sports authority voted to shut down the Izod Center in January last year, saying the facility was bleeding red ink.


It closed in March 2015 after the sports authority struck a deal with the Prudential Center for it to host all Izod events scheduled after March 31, 2015.


The Prudential Center sometimes is able to permit artists or their road crews to rehearse at the facility, Weber said. That venue is so heavily booked, however, that sometimes it can’t accommodate such requests.


Prudential Center is the fourth-busiest venue in gross-ticket revenue in the United States, and it is No. 6 in the world, according to Billboard magazine.


There will be minimal overhead to open the former Izod Center for private rehearsals versus an event for the general public, Weber said.


“It’s a totally different scale than having all the security, ticket takers, concessionaires — that is where things get upside down, which is why it is still closed for business publicly,” Weber said. “But it has been re-imagined for this particular niche of business.”


After expenses, the sports authority and the Prudential Center will share in the revenue generated by the rehearsals, Weber said.


“It does go to the bottom line.” Hasenbalg said.


Delays in completion of American Dream Meadowlands in East Rutherford have given the sports authority and the Prudential Center a window of opportunity to let artists rehearse at the nearby former Izod Center, Hasenbalg and Weber said.


Because of delays in obtaining its financing, developer Triple Five has stopped on-site construction on American Dream and likely will not resume until September or October, Hasenbalg said.


He said it had been feared that the construction would interfere with any use of the closed facility.


Hasenbalg added that even with the sports authority trying to fast-track American Dream, they can take advantage of this pause in the construction to use the arena.


The rehearsals will provide employment for those who work in trades such as electricians, stagehands, lighting and sound technicians, he and Weber said.


And restaurants and hotels near the former Izod Center will pick up business from those who come for the rehearsals, Hasenbalg said.


Prudential Center will be working with major promoters, such as Live Nation, about booking space at the Meadowlands Arena, Weber said.

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