Izod Center shutdown

EAST RUTHERFORD — It began with Bruce.

It apparently will end with elephants and clowns. The last act of the Izod Center will be the circus.

State officials, who last week announced the closing of the aging arena in the Meadowlands by the end of the month, say they are working to move the remaining events on the schedule to the Prudential Center in Newark. But they now concede some concerts and shows—including theRingling Bros. Circus—will go on as planned through the end of March.

“It’s not easy to move stuff,” explained Wayne Hasenbalg, president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates the state-owned Izod Center. “There are negotiations going on back and forth, but it’s looking like some events will stay here through March 31. We’re trying to work it all out.”

According to Hasenbalg, the Izod Center, which opened in 1981 with a series of sold-old shows by Bruce Springsteen, was on its way to losing $8.5 million this year. Under an agreement approved Thursday, the sports authority agreed to turn off the lights at the arena at the end of January and give hosting rights to its events calendar to the Pru Center, also known as “The Rock.”

But the deal with Prudential, which is paying the state $2 million for the shutdown and the turnover of Izod’s business, allows the arena to stay open through March. Under the terms of the agreement, though, Pru would get the revenues for any extended dates after January, said Hasenbalg.

For Ringling Bros., which already has seven shows on the calendar at “The Rock” just two days before its planned Izod Center run between Mar. 18 and Mar. 22, that means the shows will go on as scheduled in the Meadowlands. It is the last event set for Izod before the end of March. A spokeswoman for Feld Entertainment would not comment on their decision to keep the dates there.

No decision has been made yet on the other two concerts set for February and March at Izod—Chris Brown on Feb. 21 and Maroon 5 on Mar. 8. Representatives from both the sports authority and the Prudential Center have been talking with promoters, Hasenbalg said.

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