The MetLife Stadium is the hugely popular home field for NFL team the New York Giants, as well as their local rivals the New York Jets.
Situated in New Jersey at East Rutherford, some five miles from New York City and in a densely populated area the MetLife is one of very few major sports arenas to be shared by two teams playing the same sport.
From the outside, this stadium is extremely sleek and modern, complete with solar panels circling the entire roof. Inside there is a steep, seemingly never-ending three-tiered sea of dark blue seats. This gives the arena a very daunting look, even without 80,000 fans screaming for blood!
History of the New York Giants and Jets’ Home Field
Both the Giants and the Jets had previously played at the Giants Stadium for some thirty years, but by the turn of the millennium, the old venue was becoming unfit for twenty-first-century purpose. Therefore, a new home was needed for at least one of the franchises.
The two New York teams originally planned to build a stadium in Manhattan, one that would form part of New York’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics, with a conversion afterwards for NFL football.
With that bid losing out to London, the West Side Stadium proved a dead duck and instead the Jets and the Giants entered a joint bid to build what is now the MetLife.
Architects were given the daunting task of designing a new stadium that would please both teams as well as one that would look good against the backdrop of Manhattan’s distant skyscrapers.
The new stadium opened for business in April 2010 and was an instant hit with fans, players and media alike.
MetLife Stats and Facts
This imposing NFL stadium is about much more than statistics and facts. That said, these are the essential ones:
- Opened: April 10, 2010. The construction officially began in September 2007.
- Initial Cost: $1.6 billion. This comes to nearly $2 billion in today’s money, which even dwarfs the massive cost of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
- Capacity: Approximately 82,500. This is a bonus, given that if the West Side Stadium had been given the go-ahead it would have been reduced to 85,000 for NFL games. 33,346 are housed in the Lower Bowl, 21,323 in the Mid-Bowl and 27,897 in the Upper-Bowl.
- Playing Surface: Fieldturf as of 2020, though until 2019 it was made up of Act Global Speed S5.
Major Events Staged at the MetLife Stadium
Strangely, despite this stadium being built for NFL purposes, the reason it opened in April 2010 was to host the Big City Classic lacrosse event.
Across Sunday and Monday, September 12 and 13 of that year, first the Giants and then the Jets played their debut games at the new stadium to sell-out crowds.
The MetLife hosted Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014, with the full 82,500 seats taken up. The game featured the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. Seattle won the game 43-8 with Bruno Mars featuring as part of the half-time show.
Packing the stadium out twice has also been WrestleMania, in 2013 and 2019. Those shows grossed some $30 million in revenue between them.
The MetLife has also proven to be a hugely popular venue for both college football and soccer. While the USA’s national football team has played here, the biggest use of the stadium has come from Brazil who have played and won there twice.
It hasn’t all been about sport either. In its relatively short life, the MetLife Stadium has also played host to some of the world’s biggest and highest-grossing musical acts. They see it as a perfect stop-off on world tours, bringing in the New York crowd.
Stars to have appeared in front of up to 88,000 people including:
Bon Jovi (three times), The Eagles, U2 (twice), Bruce Springsteen (twice), Taylor Swift (three times), Beyonce & Jay-Z (twice), One Direction (twice), Eminem, Rihanna, AC/DC, Coldplay (twice), Guns N’ Roses (twice), Paul McCartney, Metallica, Ed Sheeran, The Rolling Stones, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and more. Quite the roll of honour.
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