EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — “It’s a 20-day wonder,” said Allen Sirkin, president and COO of Phillips-Van Heusen as he looked around at the newly minted Izod Center. “Talk about quick response.”
It was less than three weeks before opening night on Wednesday, Oct. 31, that PVH had cemented a deal to acquire the naming rights for the sports facility, which has been known over the course of its 26-year life as the Continental Airlines and Brendan Bryne arenas.
Since securing the naming rights, PVH’s marketing team managed to install signage on both the exterior and the interior—from the scoreboard and seats to outdoor billboards—and re-outfit the center’s entire staff in Izod sweaters.
To help celebrate the rebirth of the center, which hosts a wide range of sports and non-sports-related events, PVH executives invited friends and family to luxury boxes at the New Jersey Nets home opener. In attendance were PVH chief Manny Chirico and vice-chairman Ken Duane, as well as shirt and tie licensor Donald Trump and New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine.
Although the arena lost a major tenant—the New Jersey Devils hockey team, which relocated this season to Newark—putting a pall over the future of the center, Corzine told a press conference at the renaming ceremony, “It doesn’t seem like a dying arena to me.” This, despite the fact that the Nets also plan to move to the yet-to-be-constructed Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2009.
In fact, George Zoffinger, chief executive of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, said the arena is expected to “make a small profit” this year for the first time since 1996.
Izod will pay $1.4 million a year for the first two years of its five-year agreement and $750,000 for the following three years, following the planned departure of the Nets.