Saturday, June 22, 2024
Home Places Venue Report Stadiums & Sports Facilities Score Big With Planners

Stadiums & Sports Facilities Score Big With Planners

By Keith Loria

New Jersey is a sports lover’s dream, hosting home games for the NFL’s Giants and Jets, the NHL’s Devils, thrilling horse racing, motorsports and other sports-related entertainment like the Harlem Globetrotters, WWE Wrestling and the National Cheerleading Competition. 

What some may not know is that they can have meetings and corporate events in the same venues—and grounds—where superstar athletes compete.

Take the Prudential Center, for instance. The state-of-the-art sports and entertainment arena is home to the New Jersey Devils hockey team and hosts top concerts, but also offers plenty of opportunities for meetings and events when not in use.

The Prudential Center has over 100,000 square feet of versatile, one-of-a-kind event space. From a 20,000-square-foot main arena floor to a 750-square-foot private dining area, and numerous spaces and rooms in between, the arena can cater to any type of event. The building has hosted everything from multiday conferences to intimate parties.

“Our culture is what sets us apart, led by our commitment to engage each guest on a personal level and our dedication to celebrating the diverse people and communities in New Jersey,” says Hugh Weber, president of Prudential Center. “Our home is a world-class venue at the heart of New Jersey sports and entertainment, where guests have the opportunity to walk the same stage as Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran and Fleetwood Mac, and we want to share the pride we have for the Garden State with each person that comes through our doors.”

Prudential Center’s new partnership with Legends Hospitality has created a farm-tofan catering philosophy, featuring local New Jersey ingredients.

For all meeting attendees, the Prudential Center can provide tours of the arena, personal LED and scoreboard messages, way-finders and personal escorts for guests arriving by public transportation and VIP parking via the parking deck adjacent to the arena.

Let the Sun Shine

Claudio Oliveira, general manager, Spectra Venue Management at Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, says the venue offers the opportunity for any event to stand out within the distinctive arena setting. Within the arena bowl, there are up to 32,500 square feet of exhibition and convention space. Additionally, there are four meeting room options that accommodate as few as 20 people and as many as 3,000.

“Meeting planners can utilize our highdefinition scoreboard for slides, presentations and videos. The same in-house PA system used for basketball, hockey, and other shows and events can in turn be used for your group,” says Oliveira. “Seating can be arranged in a classroom format right on the arena floor, or people can take advantage of theater-style seating by utilizing our lower bowl seating within the venue.”  

Spectra Food Services & Hospitality, an upscale caterer with a large volume of clients within the hospitality industry, is the exclusive caterer of the Sun National Bank Center and can create a customized menu to fit every show organizer’s needs.

“Other perks include access to over 2,700 parking spaces, the opportunity for behindthe-scenes tours of the arena and the ability to package your event with tickets to upcoming shows at the arena to create a truly unique experience for attendees,” Oliveira says. 

A Giant Place of a Meeting Venue

Imagine holding a meeting on the same field where Odell Beckham, Jr. caught the winning touchdown pass last year. That could happen when you book a corporate meeting at MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants.

Brandon Pergola, assistant director of special events at the venue, says MetLife Stadium offers a wide range of options and hosts all types of meetings and events. Meetings can be arranged for as little as 10 people and events for as many as 13,000—although the stadium has 82,000 seats.

“Having your event at a stadium as opposed to a traditional venue, you’ll see more people attend and the stadium will feel like yours for that day,” he says. “We offer stadium tours and also additional amenities like putting the company logo or photos on the video board, plus we let them play touch football on the field, and we can even put the floor decking down and let them eat on the field.”

The Need for Speed

Jessica Wester, event planner for Meadowlands Racing, says guests can bring the action and vitality of all of their favorite live sporting events in the upscale and vibrant Victory Sports Bar or for a more private setting, its Skybox Suites over look the track and offer a true VIP experience. Additional venues include the bright and airy Lounge, intimate Gallery, elegant Trotters Owner’s Club and much more.

“Meetings have the backdrop of the New York City Skyline and all the on-track racing action,” she says. “We host annual expos for the pet food and painting industries. Also, local chambers of commerce hold monthly meetings and events in the Skyboxes, Victory and The Gallery.”

Some perks the venue offers its meeting guests include live racing tours of the race barn, starting car rides, winner’s circle presentations and chances to meet the horses and drivers. 

New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville has also hosted everything from wine festivals to concerts to large corporate gatherings.

“We have different types of spaces; a banquet room that can hold 800, a clubhouse for 80, small conference rooms for 10-15 people and we also have different villas on the property we can rent out,” says Chris Curry, director of hospitality and corporate events. “We do corporate events and after lunch they go out and do the go-karts for a few hours and play some paintball, stay overnight and have another meeting the next day.”

In Curry’s opinion, there’s nothing quite like combining work and play.