At the Meadowlands, 2012 was a banner year for MetLife Stadium. Billboard named it the top grossing stadium in the world and Pollstar ranked MetLife Stadium as the No. 1 grossing stadium in the country. There are more milestones to come for the stadium. It’s set to host the Super Bowl next year. NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider sat down with Brad Mayne, President and CEO of MetLife Stadium, about the successes and Super Bowl preparations.
Recognition by Billboard and Pollstar didn’t come as a complete surprise to Mayne, but he said that with the honor comes the pressure to repeat the success.
“We had a good year. Obviously a show like Bruce Springsteen which was the No. 1 grossing show in the world this last year according to Billboard and Pollstar magazines. So we had an idea that it was coming but you never know until they really come out with the rankings,” Mayne said.
What is notable about the rankings is that they do not take into account the revenue generated by the area’s two football teams — the Giants and the Jets. When it comes to planning events at the stadium, Mayne says they are limited to the big names that are capable of filling the venue.
“You’re not going to bring someone in that’s going to sell five, 10,000 seats that would normally go to an arena, so there’s a finite number of events that are out there that are available,” said Mayne. He adds that a lot of dynamics come into play when it comes to scheduling performers such as “when are they available, are we available, is there a time geographically that works in the national routing because they have a whole lot of equipment.”
And that’s just for tour events. Annual sporting events like Wrestlemania and the Super Bowl have to be planned well in advance, says Mayne.
The Super Bowl is typically held in mild weather locales. This year’s Super Bowl will be played in New Orleans. Mayne was asked how difficult it would be to put on such an event on a day like today where the temperature struggled to reach 20 degrees,
“We’re embracing the cold. I remember as a young man watching Green Bay [Packers] and [Dallas] Cowboys, Bart Starr going over [Jerry] Kramer to win at the end of the game, and it was cold and it was a tight game,” recalled Mayne. “We’re having a week of events both in New York and New Jersey. People are going to come in and have a great time. We’re going to make it comfortable for them.”
Mayne says the biggest challenge in preparing for the Super Bowl is figuring out what the NFL wants to do. But the NFL won’t begin to turn its attention to Super Bowl 2014 until Super Bowl 2013 is over, according to Mayne. But that doesn’t mean that Mayne and his team are sitting idle in the meantime.
“We have a team of ten folks who are going out to New Orleans. Five of them are actually working the event and there’s five of us that will be reviewing what they do and how they do it. And then come February, the NFL team will turn their focus on MetLife Stadium and the region here, and then we’ll get into the details of specifics of what they need,” he explained.
Mayne says he has no fear of staging an event like the Super Bowl because an organizing committee puts together contingency plans “to make sure that everything is going to be taken care of, coordinating with life safety folks with police and fire, traffic and … transportation folks. We do these kinds of events on a regular basis. This one happens to have 30 million people watching as we put it together.”
The other major development at the Meadowlands is the American Dream (formerly known as Xanadu). Last week, it was reported that the Giants and Jets reached a compromise with the developer regarding the expansion of the project and Sunday openings. Mayne says the biggest concern centered on the volume of anticipated traffic, getting vehicles in and out of the complex. But he is optimistic that all the relevant participants will work together on making American Dream a reality.
“American Dream is something that makes sense for the community and as soon as we get these challenges worked out, we move forward with them and work hand in hand with them and make it all successful,” said Mayne.