August 31, 2005

NY Jets football team gives up W. Side stadium site

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Jets professional
football team on Wednesday said it had dropped its roughly
10-year-long fight to build a $2 billion stadium on Manhattan's
West Side.

The Jets, who play in the nearby New Jersey Meadowlands
complex, had pursued their quest under both Mayor Michael
Bloomberg and his predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani.

The team refused to quit despite a number of obstacles,
including community opposition, lawsuits and finally, the
state's rejection of a financing plan.

In a letter to the state transit agency that owns the land,
the Jets contended that the city was losing out on 18,000
construction jobs, 7,000 permanent jobs and over $1 billion in
new tax revenue.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of
New York, which owns the railyards the stadium would have been
built over, now will not get the $250 million the Jets would
have paid, the team said in the letter.

Yet nearby Madison Square Garden, owned by Cablevision
Systems Corp., this spring offered about $400 million for the
same 13-acre site, only to see the MTA spurn its bid.

Other professional sports teams, including both the New
York Knicks in basketball and New York Rangers in ice hockey,
play at Madison Square Garden, which also hosts conventions.
The Jets' new stadium would have competed with the Garden for
convention business.

"The Jets have told us they were no longer interested in
the site. We have a number of options, all of which the board
will review, including putting it out for the rebid," said Tom
Kelly, MTA spokesman.

A spokeswoman for Bloomberg, a Republican, who had hoped
the team's West Side stadium would help bring the 2012 Olympics
to New York, had no immediate comment.

Officials from the Jets, whose lease at Giants Stadium ends
after the 2008 season, were not immediately available to
comment on the team's decision or on a recent meeting with
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, who has offered the
team a site in her borough.

The New York Giants football team has preliminarily agreed
to build a new stadium in the Meadowlands and the Jets have
also discussed sharing it.