NBC spends $750K to transform arena in New Jersey swamp

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Meadowlands Arena (Credit: Google Maps and iStock)

Meadowlands Arena (Credit: Google Maps and iStock)

Of all of the creative adaptive reuse projects that have sprung up across the country over the last several years, the most creative might be sitting next to Metlife Stadium in the swamps of East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Meadowlands Arena, the former home of the New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils, has new life as a soundstage for entertainment giant NBCUniversal. NBC has invested more than $750,000 since mid-2018 to turn the defunct stadium, also called the Izod Center, into a soundstage for its prime-time dramas, according to the New York Times.

Several vacant arenas across the country have been transformed for other uses, but the high ceilings and ample open space are ideal for the needs of television production. The Meadowlands Arena’s sky boxes were transformed into offices and the former Nets locker room was turned into the headquarters of the costume department.

The New York metro area has becoming increasingly popular as a production locale, thanks partly to the viewing public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for content. NBC is leasing the disused stadium, which closed in 2015, from New Jersey’s state sports authority, fitting with Governor Phil Murphy’s initiative to make the state the next big thing in television and film production.

NBC has the arena through at least March. The ultimate fate of the stadium is uncertain, though. Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce president Jim Kirkos has sent proposals to Gov. Murphy to turn it into a destination venue for an act like Cirque du Soleil or repurpose it as a convention center. Both would fit into a wider plan to revitalize the site, anchored by Triple Five’s neighboring American Dream mall. [NYT]Dennis Lynch

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