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A whole new ballgame at stadium

For Mayne, running MetLife is turning out to be very different from his years in charge of arena operations

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Brad Mayne’s experience includes running the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, home to a hockey team now called the Ducks, and the American Airlines Center, where the Dallas Mavericks and Stars play.
Brad Mayne’s experience includes running the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, home to a hockey team now called the Ducks, and the American Airlines Center, where the Dallas Mavericks and Stars play. - (AARON HOUSTON)

It may seem daunting to run a football stadium in the largest U.S. sports market — not to mention serving two team owners, a unique challenge in the NFL.

But a look at Brad Mayne's résumé shows he's up to the task.

MetLife Stadium's CEO spent 14 years at the helm of the American Airlines Center, in Dallas, a venue in the country's fourth largest population center and one that's home to both NBA and NHL teams. It was also Mayne's last stop in a 30-year career of building and running sports facilities, prior to coming to New Jersey last September.

The former Salt Lake City plumber spent nine years early on with Ogden Entertainment, with three spent developing and managing the former Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, in Southern California.

Then, in 1998, the Dallas Mavericks and Stars asked him to build the new city-owned arena that the teams would occupy starting three years later.

“That was my first foray into working for two different ownership groups,” said Mayne, who reported to Texas business moguls H. Ross Perot Jr. and Tom Hicks.

Working in the Dallas-Fort Worth market also prepared him for straddling two jurisdictions — a valuable skill ahead of a Super Bowl that aims to deliver on both sides of the Hudson River. And by the time Mayne headed east, the American Airlines Center had become a perennial top 10 performer in U.S. venue rankings.

But the transition to MetLife Stadium has also proved challenging. Simply put, hosting crowds of 83,000 is “a whole lot different than when you're hosting 21,000 people,” he said.

“A lot of the basics are the same, and yet the nuances are a lot different,” Mayne said.

That includes everything from booking acts to handling weather emergencies, which he learned all about in the first two months on the job, when storms delayed both a college football game and Bruce Springsteen concert, requiring fans to be moved from the inner bowl to safe areas, like tunnels and concourses.

Until then, “the worst I had to deal with from a weather standpoint (were) twisters,” he said, and that called an opposite protocol — moving fans into the seating bowl, away from the exterior.

“You quickly learn that the coordination efforts and the cooperation that takes place is a lot more challenging in a stadium than it is in an arena environment,” Mayne said.

E-mail to: joshb@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @joshburdnj

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Joshua Burd

Joshua Burd

Josh Burd covers real estate, economic development and sports and entertainment. Before joining NJBIZ in 2011, he spent four years as a metro reporter in Central Jersey. His email is joshb@njbiz.com and he is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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