Barry Melrose Backs Down From Statements About Newark Arena

BM DESERVES SALUTE FOR NOT BACKING DOWN (OH, WAIT): We want to issue a hearty salute to Barry Melrose for speaking the truth about Newark, NJ, last week. His assessment of the war zone that envelopes the city’s new arena, Prudential Center, was absolutely spot-on. We visited the site before PC’s official opening a couple months back and were appalled by the frightening blight of the nearby neighborhood.

Newark Prudential Center

Melrose’s statements are once again an example of ESPN’s unwavering attention to detail and willingness to stand up for the truth - which is the brick and mortar of what has built an unrivaled sports reportage empire.

Just because Melrose had never visited the arena when he made his statements about the building and environs doesn’t mean that he lacks credibility. Nor does his backpedaling today from his remarks faster than the guy landing planes at nearby Newark airport diminish his journalistic standing in our eyes.UPDATE: Moments after we posted this entry, the video of Melrose slamming Newark (linked above) suddenly became “unavailable”. Here’s a screen grab of the original SbB post:

Barry Melrose Screen Shot

We’re sure this is a complete coincidence. Or Colin Cowherd’s AM radio show, in which he regales us daily about grocery shopping, is draining too much of the mothership’s bandwidth.

Barry Melrose Calls Area Around New Jersey Devils Prudential Center Awful

MELROSE AFRAID TO STEP OUTSIDE NJ DEVILS’ NEW ARENA: We mentioned how crowds at New Jersey hockey games has been Devilishly low this season, despite playing in a brand-new rink. And now Barry Melrose passes us a good reason why:

Barry Melrose NJ Devils fans

The NEWARK STAR-LEDGER gets word that the ESPN hockey analyst is quiteimpressed with the $375 million Prudential Center, but not the surrounding neighborhood:”It looks great on the inside, but don’t go outside, especially if you got a wallet or anything else, because the area around the building is awful.


“It’s so different the inside and the outside where it’s built, it’s pretty humorous.”

But Newark city officials aren’t laughing. Mayor Cory Booker called Melrose’s comments “utterly absurd“, adding “This guy doesn’t know Newark.”

And the city’s police chief chimed in that no arena visitors have been victims of any crime - except maybe being ripped off by high ticket prices.

However, reading through comments on the article, many seem to agree with Barry’s assessment. Commenter GetACLueNJ asks, “Instead of making him apologize, why doesn’t the city try to prove him wrong?

Barry Melrose golden mullet

Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek does shoot back at Melrose, riffing that Barry’s opinions on the neighborhood are “like me saying I know what it’s like to wear a mullet.”

New Jersey Devils New Arena Already Starting to Lose Luster

RED-HOT SHINE DULLED ON NJ DEVILS’ NEW PLAYGROUND: A new arena always brings new excitement and sellout crowds. At least that’s what the New Jersey Devils thought.

Prudential Center night

The CALGARY HERALD ices news that only a week after opening it’s doors, the Prudential Center has lost its luster. Although the season opener against the Ottawa Senators sold out, the following home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning had an announced crowd of just over 13,000.Better yet, those at the game said they saw no more than 8,000 fannies in the furbished seats. And futher witnesses say that claims of 14,000 fans at Friday’s contest against the Maple Leafs were “wildly inflated.”

Prudential Center New Jersey Devils rink

(Typical Attendance at Devils Home Games)

Guess Newark isn’t such a prize destination, after all.Jersey’s home numbers aren’t the only tallies that are on thin ice. The Boston Bruins haven’t had a sellout at TD Banknorth Garden at all this year.

Last Sunday’s game hit a new low. Although attendance was officially claimed at 10,087, only 5,000 folks bothered to show up to see Boston battle Ottawa.

Boston Bruins fan mascot

However, there were unforeseen factors contributing to the paltry crowd. For one, the Patriots were playing the Colts at the same time. (TD Banknorth could have used some of that fake RCA Dome noise.)And for another, the Bruins were playing.