A Venue Story: The MetLife Stadium Dilemma
In 2010, after $1.6 billion dollars were spent, the Giants, Jets, and entire New York metropolitan area had a brand new venue. Built next to the old Giants Stadium in New Jersey, MetLife Stadium is the most expensive stadium ever built.
When I first set foot in the stadium I was, to put it simply, underwhelmed. The first word that popped into my head: bland. On its exterior, MetLife Stadium is far from visually pleasing. With rows of metal bars encompassing the entirety of the stadium, most saw this as an eye sore. The inside of MetLife was also not much to write home about as the setting lacks a sense of atmosphere and character.
During the construction process, it was rumored that a retractable roof was going to be featured in the new building. Given the wintry climate of the northeast, fans were big proponents of the roof and were disappointed when news broke that there would be no such thing.
While most shook their heads at the shortcomings of the new venue, it did not have an adverse impact on their wallets... yet.
New Jersey and New York taxpayers did not have to pay a dime for the construction of the stadium, as it was privately financed. In 2010 when MetLife was erected, it was also promised Super Bowl XLVIII for the 2013-14 NFL season.
Hosting a Super Bowl in the New York metropolitan area proposed an unprecedented economic opportunity and paradox. With no retractable roof, the Super Bowl would have wintry elements in play. Hopes of making an economic splash for the area fell flat on their face, and the game itself was not much of a contest as the Seahawks defeated the Broncos 43-8. In fact, in terms of the most profitable Super Bowls, Super Bowl XLVIII did not even crack the top 10.
A year before the completion of MetLife Stadium, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys opened AT&T Stadium in 2009. The gold standard of venues in the National Football League, AT&T was built with a retractable roof and lavish amenities such as their $30 million dollar scoreboard hanging graciously over the 50-yard line. Built with 10,584,064 LEDs, it is the largest HD 1080p video monitor in the world, and cost more to install than the old Texas Stadium cost to construct. In week 1 of 2009 when the Cowboys played host to the New York Giants, the attendance record in the NFL was broken at 105,000 people. Shockingly enough, AT&T cost $500 million dollars less than MetLife Stadium.
When AT&T Stadium played host to Super Bowl XLV in 2011, Forbes reported $195 million in ad revenue, making it the 3rd most profitable Super Bowl ever. Whereas Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife saw a $7.5 million loss in revenue. As the state of New Jersey shelled out nearly $100 million to play host, New Jersey taxpayers undoubtedly felt the aftershocks of the most expensive Super Bowl in history.
Despite a brand new venue in the media capital of the world, owners, along with the Super Bowl committee, learned a valuable lesson.