In the wake of the Giants’ new Swampland Stadium hopes coming to a more dramatic end than Jim McGreevy’s political career, the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir raises the wacky possibility of yet another groundshare, this time with the Jets as landlords.
It would be, in a historic sense, a reverse commute, like the Raiders’ return to Oakland, or Los Angeles, or Oakland. The Giants departed the Bronx for the Meadowlands in 1976 and were followed eight years later by the migrant Jets, a team in search of the clean lavatories that had eluded them at Shea Stadium.
For now, envisioning both teams in their ancestral state is a fantasy. The prospects of building the Jets’ stadium are more akin to the chances of sinking a 3-point heave than the slam dunk they once appeared to be. And the Giants would have to find a way to escape the strictures of their lease on Giants Stadium, which expires in 2026.
The Giants should also prepare themselves to leave the Garden State Circus, where Richard J. Codey, the acting governor, tossed two monkey wrenches Wednesday into a deal the team believed was all but done, for the Cirque du Manhattan, where the ringmaster, James L. Dolan, throws cream pies at the Jets.
There may be a viable argument that two teams are better than one. Sixteen games a year, instead of eight, would mean more revenue and more taxes, and two teams to share the cost of a $200 million retractable roof. If the Jets and the Giants contribute equally, they may reduce the $600 million the city and state will contribute. Each team could ask for the maximum $150 million from the National Football League’s G-3 loan program for new stadiums; lending to two teams for one building would set a precedent, but the owners would at least consider their requests.
Wherever the teams get their money, the rising cost of what is called the New York Sports and Convention Center may obviate any savings to the public subsidy. The project had a $1.4 billion price tag not long ago.
But more games would invite more traffic and surely more protests. A two-team project could prompt a new environmental impact study that would stress the effect of the busiest football stadium in the league. Until now, the project has been pitched as a convention center with a little football on the side.
Doug Turetsky, chief of staff at the city’s Independent Budget Office, added another caveat. “The biggest revenue-generating source of the sports and convention center would be conventions,” he said. “If two teams played there, it would be impossible for them to have more profitable activities during the same time, so two teams might not pan out to be much of a revenue boost for the city.”
Threatening a move to Manhattan is one option for the Giants. The team has a whopper of a hammer in its lease: a clause that requires the landlord, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, to keep Giants Stadium “state of the art.” The Giants can look at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia or the renovated Lambeau Field in Green Bay and say: “Lookie there – and there. That’s state of the art.”
Or, if the Giants do not move to Manhattan, they can invite Codey and the sports authority board to gaze across the Hudson River at the Jets’ stadium (if it is built) and say: “We want that. Start building. That’ll be $1 billion. Thanks.”