4 for 40: Mara, Johnson, Harris, Blitzer
In case you were wondering just how much of an economic hold a sports owner can have on an area, check out what’s going on in St. Louis and San Diego, which are about to lose their NFL franchises. Then ask Josh Harris and David Blitzer how much having the Nets here would help them fill the calendar at the Prudential Center. Say this: The four principal owners in the state prefer to stay out of the spotlight and always act with professionalism.
John Mara and Woody Johnson opted against prolonging the battle over traffic and parking issues with the American Dream project. “Make no mistake — the two owners will continue to have a lot of say in what happens with the American Dream. Just right down to logistical things, like where you can park, where you can put utilities. They literally will have that project by the (expletive) in a number of ways through the years — some big, some small. … So I think they stay relevant just on that alone.”
Harris and Blitzer want to do more in Newark (they hosted Ras Baraka’s post-election gathering), only to be held up by many of the same issues that have slowed Newark’s recovery for years. The same can’t be said in Camden, where Harris and Blitzer will move the front office and practice facilities of their other franchise, the NBA’s 76ers, in what is a big boost for the area’s tax rolls. Bringing the Super Bowl here may not have been the economic boon many wanted (blame the NFL and the lure of New York City for that), but it did show our two NFL owners are committed to bringing more NFL action to the area. And that’s far better than where fans in St. Louis and San Diego are at.