EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -The foundation has been laid for the refurbished IZOD Center to survive at least another five years, Gov. Jon Corzine said Wednesday at a ceremony to rename the 26-year-old arena in the Meadowlands sports complex.
``It doesn't seem like a dying arena to me,'' Corzine said when asked about the future of the building that had been known as the Continental Airlines Arena since 1996.
The future of the arena, which opened with a Bruce Springsteen concert in 1981, has been in question for the past few years following decisions by the two major tenants to move out.
The New Jersey Devils of the NHL moved to Newark this season, and the Nets of the NBA plan to leave for Brooklyn for the 2009-10 season. Nets owner Bruce Ratner said Wednesday that the planned arena in Brooklyn probably would not be ready for the start of that season, however.
The IZOD Center is also the site of about 200 concerts and family entertainment events annually.
``I was in business for a long time, and a five-year time frame is really a planning cycle,'' Corzine said after the ceremony and before the Nets tipped off their season with a game against the Chicago Bulls. ``We've laid the foundation for a successful five years, and we will be looking at this as a business decision as time goes on.''
Corzine was cautiously optimistic about the arena's future once the Nets move.
``I am not prejudging any of that,'' he said. ``We will look at it as a business person would in any kind of analysis. For the next five years we are in pretty good shape. We can maintain most of that time (with) the Nets and the family entertainment schedules that we have today and, if we grow that, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic.''
George Zoffinger, chief executive of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, said the arena would turn a profit this year for the first time since 1996.
Clothing maker IZOD, best known for its sports shirts, was awarded the naming rights in early October. The division of clothing and apparel maker Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. agreed to pay $1.4 million each year over the course of the five-year deal.
IZOD was a sponsor of the Nets before being awarded the naming rights.

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