MetroStars Close In

The Anschutz Entertainment Group-owned New York/New Jersey MetroStars Major League Soccer team and the state of New Jersey are finalizing a deal for a new stadium in Harrison.

The deal initially became possible when AEG agreed to limit the number of concerts it would hold at the new 25,000-seat stadium to six per year, according to the Staff-Ledger.

Apparently, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the state agency that operates the Meadowlands Sports Complex, was fearful that a new stadium would affect concert business at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford.

Meanwhile, officials with knowledge of the deal said the sports authority, the city of Harrison and the MetroStars would evenly divide the costs of building the $84 million stadium, the paper said.

The sports authority would reportedly issue bonds to finance construction of the facility, and Harrison is expected to assign property tax money from future development at the site to come up with its contribution.

New Jersey and the MetroStars would share money from parking, concessions, advertising and naming rights. The state also plans to collect a surcharge on all tickets to ensure that it is reimbursed for its investment, according the Staff-Ledger.

AEG and the MetroStars will operate the yet-to-be-named venue, according to the team’s Web site.

The soccer team is expected to play one more season at East Rutherford’s 80,000-seat Giants Stadium before moving to Harrison at the start of the 2006 season.