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Prudential Center gets a Top 10 worldwide ranking

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Prudential Center
Prudential Center - (AARON HOUSTON)

The Prudential Center in Newark was ranked No. 3 nationally and No. 9 worldwide in a year-end ranking of entertainment venues by a trade publication, arena executives said Friday.

The list by Venues Today, which will appear in its December issue, ranked facilities based on gross revenue between Oct. 15, 2012, and Oct. 15, 2013, from concerts and other events beyond their regular tenants. The figures are compiled by the magazine and were not immediately available, nor were the other venues that made the list.

Still, officials with the 6-year-old arena touted the ranking Friday after a year of sellouts by big-ticket acts such as the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift and the Ultimate Fighting Championship franchise.

Hugh Weber, the Prudential Center's president, believes the amenities and the facilities give an artist "everything you can imagine," while New Jersey's population and demographics have allowed it to thrive.

Executives have led a push to bring in new acts since August, when a group led by Josh Harris and David Blitzer purchased its anchor tenant, the New Jersey Devils, and the 17,000-seat facility. Weber said quantity is important, but management takes pains to ensure each act will pack the arena, he said.

"So it's not just about filling dates — it's about having the right content that's going to fill the building on those dates," said Weber, who took his post in August. "That's the kind of message that our sponsors want to hear because they're concerned about impressions that they're making with their investment with us."

That doesn't mean the arena is not focused on growing beyond the more than 200 events it hosted last year, including Devils games. Weber said the arena will look for creative ways to draw big crowds, and he believes the Rock has an edge over other busy venues such as the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, which houses three pro sports teams.

"We think there's a whole lot of opportunity for us to get acts in this building," he said. "And I think we're going to go a long way before we're unable to book the right show because of conflicts."

The venue will have national attention in a little more than a month when it hosts media day for Super Bowl XLVIII. The event is among the most high-profile around the game, featuring a media crush and players from both teams, and is the first official public gathering for the week leading up to the game at MetLife Stadium.

The year-end ranking by Venues Today ties the Rock's previous highest U.S. spot earned in 2008, arena spokeswoman Kerry Graue said. Its highest worldwide ranking of seventh was also recorded in 2008.

Weber noted while attendees enjoy their experience, they might not see it in the context of other venues. Such a ranking is "validation that it really is world class building," he said.

"They don't often think of the Prudential Center in the same breath with some of the facilities that are on this list," he said. "And it's a little bit of a confirmation that we do have this amazing asset here."

 
 

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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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