Jets, Giants Land New Stadium

After two weeks of touch-and-go negotiations that ended in three days of marathon sessions, the New York Giants and the New York Jets have decided to build and share an $800 million stadium in the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

After a failed attempt to build a $2.2 billion stadium in New York City, the Jets will play in East Rutherford, N.J., in a facility to be built next to Giants Stadium. The football teams agreed to a 99-year deal to play in the stadium beginning in 2009.

The facility, to be part of the $2 billion Xanadu shopping and entertainment project being built around the Continental Airlines Arena, is expected to be a flagship stadium for the National Football League.

The Jets agreed to shack up with the Giants after saying they were considering a $1.3 billion stadium in Queens, which caused animosity within the Giants camp. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said he would allow the Giants to continue to pursue a new stadium on its own. If the Jets’ venture into Queens were to fail, the team probably would have moved to the new Giants stadium as a tenant instead of a partner.

The teams agreed to share all revenue and expenses as well as manage the roughly 80,000-capacity facility. Naming rights are up for grabs and there is talk of a retractable roof, although acting New Jersey Gov. Richard Codey said the $200 million estimate for the roof would not burden taxpayers.

Codey has been credited with negotiating the deal. Four professional sports teams are likely to leave New Jersey, making the Jets an important save.

Politics may have spurred the agreement. Gubernatorial candidates claim Codey was too generous with the Giants and Jets, and said that if elected, they may take a critical look at the deal.