NHL Stadium Series at MetLife: Meadowlands Region Leaves Money on the Table Without Convention Center

See Tom Bergeron’s Opinion article in ROI NJ

See Tom Bergeron’s Opinion article in ROI NJ

The sold out NHL Stadium Series at MetLife in the Meadowlands on Feb. 17 and 18 was just another example of how the Meadowlands region is leaving money on the table because we don’t have a convention center.

Tom Bergeron of ROI NJ writes in his opinion article on Tuesday (Feb. 20), Stadium Series shows big-event potential of Meadowlands — and its big missing piece, that a multipurpose convention center can help unlock the full economic potential of the meadowlands.

“…New Jersey is more than capable of handling big-event crowds (which it has proven for years). It also showed that the state is capable of taking top billing,” Bergeron said.

The NHL Stadium Series

Drawing the 5th largest crowd in NHL history, this was the first time the outdoor Stadium Series was held in New Jersey, giving the honor to MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford. This was also the first NHL outdoor games on back-to-back days in the same venue with fans in attendance, the NHL said.

The 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series is the League’s 40th and 41st outdoor games. The first NHL Stadium Series was in 2014 at Dodgers Stadium.

See also: Meadowlands Gearing Up For NHL Stadium Series at MetLife

Fans packed parking lots to tailgate hours before faceoff, with opening night on Saturday (Feb. 17) seeing the New Jersey Devils and their fans going all “Sopranos,” wearing white tank tops, gold chains, and classic velour Fila tracksuits. 

Garden State musical headliners included the Jonas Brothers and Gaslight Anthem among others. Max Weinberg of Springsteen’s E Street Band drummed up a “Let’s go Devils!” chant and legendary Devils goalie Martin Brodeur dropped the ceremonial first puck. Jake Clemons (nephew of Clarence Clemons, original saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen), a saxophonist who tours with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, performed the National Anthem.

The Philadelphia Flyers, (defeated by The Devils 6-3) along with Flyers fans, paid homage to “Rocky,” wearing black Chuck Taylor sneakers and gray sweatsuits, with towels slung around their necks.

Read more: NJ Devils Sport ‘Sopranos’ Themed Pre-Game Outfits Prior to Stadium Series Victory

Missed Opportunities

MetLife Stadium was transformed into “NHL Stadium Series Park,” with grass surrounding the ice, lots of plants, walking paths, park benches, picnic tables and more. 

While the stadium did everything to accommodate the scores of enthusiasts, major fan conventions and expos can only happen at a facility that can compete and deliver. 

“A year ago, the Meadowlands 2040 Foundation — an arm of the chamber — released a feasibility study on the benefits of building a 460,000-square-foot multipurpose convention center, one that could possibly bring an extra $1 billion in economic benefits,” Bergeron said.

“FIFA has said the World Cup will be worth an estimated $2 billion in economic impact in the United States across 10 venues,” Meadowlands Chamber CEO Jim Kirkos said. “Our economic report shows the convention center will be worth a billion a year.

“Why wouldn’t we want to generate a billion dollars a year — or $30 billion over 30 years?”

Cindy Capitani is the Communications & Content Manager at the Meadowlands Chamber. Send press releases and inquiries to ccapitani@meadowlands.org.