The Meadowlands will host at least eight World Cup Soccer Games – the equivalent to eight Super Bowls in six Weeks – and has a 50/50 shot at getting the World Cup Final Match, N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy told N.J. Meadowlands Chamber members.
This was just one of many assertions the Governor made at Eggs & Issues on Friday, Oct. 27 when he took the stage to talk about small business opportunities in the Garden State and specifically in the Meadowlands region. New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan also spoke at the event.
NJ: The State for Small Businesses
The dialogue focused on the many grants, loans, and special programs the state has available to help startups launch and small businesses grow. Opportunities in and around the Garden State were outlined, touching on the FIFA World Cup games, proposed Meadowlands youth sports and convention center, and other destination opportunities.
“This is a particularly powerful geographic access here — the Meadowlands right through into New York City — exploiting that channel is probably our collective job No. 1,” Gov. Murphy told the crowd of business leaders at The Graycliff in Moonachie.
In support of small business in the state, the NJEDA administers several schemes launched under the Murphy Administration, including the Main Street Recovery Program. Launched in October 2021, the Main Street Recovery Program has issued over $85 million in grants and loans to more than 2,300 small businesses to date.
“We are up 11-fold in the number of small businesses that we are directly supporting, year-in and year-out, and we are just getting started,” Sullivan said. He gave an overview of programs put into place by the NJEDA to assist entrepreneurs, including:
- Main Street Recovery Program, which is a fund that focuses on supporting NJ micro businesses owners.
- Manufacturing Voucher Program, a $20 million pilot grant program that assists NJ manufacturers with equipment needed to help them become more efficient and profitable.
- NJ Zero Emission Incentive Program (NJZIP), which is a program created to speed up the adoption of zero-emission medium and heavy duty vehicles within the state.
- NJ Clean Energy Loans (NJ CELs), an $80 million co-lending program used to help small businesses that are looking to finance clean energy projects.
FIFA World Cup Finals
Not for the first time, Murphy said he believes the FIFA World Cup finals will come down to MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands or AT&T Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, Texas, a sentiment he expressed earlier this fall.
The 2026 event is being hosted by the U.S., Canada and Mexico, with eight of the 60 U.S. matches confirmed at MetLife. It will be the first tournament with 48 countries competing, and will be the most-watched sporting event in the world that year.
“There’s only one place in North America that’s going to sell that game out and it’s Jersey,” the governor said. “We’ll be one of the few places that sells every seat to every game.”
Murphy added the MetLife games will be “huge,” possibly with fan events being hosted in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, Times Square in Manhattan, and Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
Youth Sports & Convention Center
Gov. Murphy also told the business crowd at the Meadowlands Chamber event that he spent time going over the specs of the proposed convention center in the Meadowlands.
The proposed Meadowlands Convention Center complex could generate more than $3.5 billion in tax revenue, over $30 billion in spending and create an average equivalent of 6,000-plus full-time jobs, according to a recent economic impact study.
He called it “conceptually very attractive” and said it shows how New York is “under capacity.”
Trip to Asia
Later in the discussion, Governor Murphy also mentioned his trip to Asia and the progress he was able to make in regards to creating bonds with East Asian countries.
He highlighted a new agreement he was able to reach with South Korea, simplifying the process for Korean citizens trying to obtain a NJ driver’s license and NJ citizens trying to obtain a South Korean driver’s license.
There are over 100,000 Koreans currently living in New Jersey, with an overwhelming majority of them living in Bergen County. Through this agreement, Governor Murphy was able to significantly simplify the process for both citizens of South Korea and New Jersey.
Importance of the Arts
Towards the conclusion of the discussion, Murphy fielded a question from a college student in attendance and was asked about what art means to him and what he envisions the future of art will look like.
He brought up NJPAC and all they have done in advancing the arts in the state. He also mentioned the Montclair Film Festival, which Governor Murphy said he was appearing at later that same day.
The governor also said he launched New Jersey’s first-ever statewide arts and music festival this past June. The inaugural “North To Shore” or “N2S” festival was a month-long three-city extravaganza featuring music, poetry, theater and visual arts that ran in numerous venues across Atlantic City, Asbury Park and Newark.
It was modeled to be something like a South-By-Southwest of the Northeast, Murphy said.