A “new” or “largely renovated” Rutgers basketball arena? Jersey Mike deal sets timeline for major facility improvement

Pat Hobbs has made no secret of his desire to see a major upgrade to Rutgers’ basketball arena in the years to come.

Rutgers’ sports director in 2017 told NJ Advance Media that “preliminary consultation work” looked at possible improvements to the building, which opened in 1977. Additionally, Rutgers is expected to release a report produced by AECOM, a Los Angeles-based company is redeveloping sports facilities, which will include creative ideas for arena renovations, a football training facility, SHI Stadium and other Olympic sports venues.

Now Rutgers appears to be on the clock for his arena upgrades.

NJ Advance Media was awarded the contract between Rutgers and Jersey Mike’s Subs on Wednesday for the naming rights to the former Rutgers Athletic Center. In a 20-year, $ 28 million deal, the home of the Scarlet Knights’ basketball, wrestling, gymnastics and women’s volleyball teams will be called Jersey Mike’s Arena.

The contract includes a opt-out option for Jersey Mike’s which can be executed in July 2029 if Rutgers does not “substantially renovate” the 8,000-seat trapezoidal arena or build a new one by July 1, 2028 .

The opt-out clause on termination reads as follows:

The University believes that in order to successfully participate in the Big Ten conference, a substantially renovated or new arena would be desirable and in its best interests. JM understands that the University intends to undertake such a renovation or a new arena in the next few years. As such, in the event that by July 1, 2028, Rutgers has also not (a) completed a complete arena renovation, including, but not limited to, the seats, halls, concessions, technological systems, the exterior and facade of the arena, or (b) the materially completed construction of a new basketball arena, then as of July 1, 2029, JM will be entitled to terminate this Agreement, without further obligation to either party or without prejudice to any other legal or equitable right to which such terminating party may be entitled; provided that JM provides written notice of its decision to terminate by August 1, 2028.

Rutgers’ upcoming facilities master plan is expected to include concept designs for a new football training facility and renovations to the Rutgers Athletic Center.

In their contract with Scarlet Knights football coach Greg Schiano, Rutgers acknowledged that a new indoor training facility and a new football operations center “would be both necessary and desirable” and agreed. committed to developing and acquiring cost projections and conceptual designs “as soon as reasonably practicable” for recruiting and fundraising purposes.

Rutgers officials put the cost of a new football facility at $ 150 million and said half of it would need to be raised by private funds before the state university goes there. ‘before with a borrowing plan that would give the green light to the project.

Schiano told NJ Advance Media in July that we are “cutting” planning for the practice center, but declined to put a timeline on when the plans could be released or the project to begin.

Any facility upgrades or new construction plans should be reviewed by the union of university professors, who sued the university in its search for documents revealing the sports department’s financial problems.

Rutgers’ latest financial report on athletics showed a shortfall of $ 28.5 million from a record $ 114.2 million budget made up of $ 11.86 million in varsity support, from $ 12.65 million. million dollars in tuition and $ 3.99 million in state support. NJ Advance Media reported in February that the Rutgers track and field program had $ 214.8 million in debt payments related to facility upgrades, including $ 74.5 million due to the $ 102 million expansion. of the football stadium from 2008.

Hobbs said Rutgers had the fewest premium seats in their basketball arena and football stadium among the Big Ten schools. He pointed to a 2017 upgrade that saw Rutgers add premium seating to the bleachers behind one of the basketball arena baskets as proof that the premium seating additions are supporting each other.

“It was a very small section of bleachers where we installed quality seats, bar tables and even this small investment generated 40% more income than we could generate before,” he said. told NJ Advance Media. in 2017. “So we will be looking at all of these opportunities. “

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Here are other details of the contract:

Jersey Mike’s Arena is official: Technically speaking, you were wrong if you had called the Rutgers basketball arena the RAC or the Rutgers Athletic Center in the past month. The contract for the name change came into effect on October 1, 2021. The contract runs until June 30, 2041.

It’s $ 28,099,123 to be exact: Rutgers is expected to receive a check from Jersey Mike’s by March 31 of each year starting next spring. The payment on March 31, 2022 will be $ 1.1 million and the payment will gradually increase until it reaches $ 1,758,515 on March 31, 2041.

How it compares to other naming rights agreements: In June 2011, Rutgers entered into an eight-year naming rights agreement with then-appointed High Point Solutions valued at $ 600,000 per year.

In July 2019, Rutgers signed a seven-year contract worth $ 10.85 million with SHI International Corp., a New Jersey-based IT solutions provider.

The deal that started in time for the 2019 season started at $ 1.25 million per year and is expected to grow to $ 1.85 million in 2025-2026.

Signage: Jersey Mike President Hoyt Jones told NJ Advance Media on Monday that the basketball court will be stamped with the Jersey Mike logo on November 10.

In addition, Jersey Mike’s signs will be placed on the roof and facades of the arena in the coming weeks. Rutgers will pay $ 300,000 for the installation of the signage.

Yes, there will be Jersey Mike’s Subs available: This part of the contract ensures that fans can purchase sandwiches at sporting events this year and beyond:

“Rutgers Athletics will make commercially reasonable efforts to include (Jersey Mike’s) dining options in the SHI arena and stadium, and will be responsible for any costs contemplated in the construction or renovation of any concessionaire as part of the overall renovation. arena, if applicable; however, Rutgers is not required to incur any additional costs to include foods (from Jersey Mike’s) that are specifically related to the preparation of Jersey Mike’s foods (eg, bread ovens, meat slicers). However, the parties acknowledge and agree that such catering and catering services are not directly controlled by Rutgers Athletics but by a third party supplier and such inclusion will be subject to existing third party agreements. ”

There is another mutual withdrawal option: Rutgers and Jersey Mike’s both have the right to terminate the contract in 15 years.

“In their respective sole discretion and determination, each party shall have the right to terminate this Agreement, without further obligation on either party or prejudice to any other legal or equitable right to which such terminating party may be entitled ( provided that such early termination either does not create any right or remedy for either party), from July 1, 2036, provided that the party wishing to terminate the agreement under this option provides written notice to the other party no later than July 1, 2035, ”the contract states.

A new place: The contract says Rutgers could open the front of their arena to present their deal.

“During the term, (Jersey Mike’s) and Rutgers may jointly plan and develop an exterior plaza development (the ‘plaza development’) near the arena designed as a potential showcase for the deal,” the contract reads. “All aspects of Plaza’s development, including timing, investment levels and development finance strategies, will be mutually agreed upon by the parties. “

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Keith Sargeant can be reached at [email protected].

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