Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Continental Airlines Arena
Continental Airlines Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It is home to the New Jersey Nets NBA basketball team and the New Jersey Devils NHL hockey team. The arena also hosts the men's basketball games of Seton Hall University. Official seating capacity as of 2004 is 19,968 for NBA games; 20,029 for college basketball; 19,040 for hockey; and a maximum 20,000 for concerts.
Construction on a new arena across New Jersey state highway 20 (now 120) from Giants Stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack began in 1977, and the Brendan Byrne Arena, named after the sitting governor of the state, opened July 2, 1981, with the first of six concerts by rock musician Bruce Springsteen. This was followed by an ice show later that month.
On October 30, 1981, the Nets, who had played their previous four seasons at the Louis Brown Athletic Center at Rutgers University, made their debut at the Arena, losing to the New York Knicks, 103-99. Later that season, on January 31, 1982, the NBA All-Star game was played at the Arena.
In 1982, the Colorado Rockies of the NHL relocated to the Meadowlands and became the New Jersey Devils. Their first regular-season game, on October 4, 1982, resulted in a 4-4 tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
College basketball arrived at the Arena with the opening rounds of the 1984 NCAA basketball tournament. Seton Hall moved its Big East Conference men's basketball games to the Arena for the 1985-1986 season, enhancing a tradition that would soon become rich. The Arena hosted the NCAA men's Final Four in 1996, and has played host to numerous regional finals since 1986.
Other teams that have called the Arena home include the New Jersey Rockets of the Major Indoor Soccer League, the New Jersey Rockin Rollers of Roller Hockey International; the New Jersey Red Dogs / Gladiators of the Arena Football League; and the New Jersey Storm of National Lacrosse League. The New York Cosmos also used the arena to host indoor soccer games.
On January 4, 1996, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority announced a naming rights deal with Continental Airlines under which the airline, with a hub at nearby Newark International Airport, would pay the NJSEA $29 million over 12 years.
Plans have been unveiled to downscale the Arena in conjunction with several developments, including a new arena for the Nets in Brooklyn, New York, a new arena for the Devils in Newark, and the creation of a new entertainment and shopping center surrounding the Arena.
In Fall 2004, the Arena unveiled a new alternative configuration for concerts called the Theater at Continental Airlines Arena. The Arena's capacity is greatly reduced to under 4,000 simply by the strategic placement of a large number of black drapes.
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