Proposed Jets' stadium at heart of the matter

Updated: March 16, 2005, 12:08 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The New York Jets sued the owner of Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, claiming it maintains a monopoly on major city sports and entertainment events.

According to the lawsuit, Cablevision Systems Corp. – the Garden's owner and an opponent of a proposed stadium for the Jets in Manhattan – took steps to exclude any competition, resulting in fewer choices and higher ticket prices for New York fans.

The suit also charged that Cablevision has spent millions of dollars on a "false and misleading disinformation campaign" against the stadium and denied the Jets a chance to "set the record straight" for New Yorkers by denying them a chance to buy ads on their cable systems, said a news release from the team.

"Cablevision's egregious actions – which have intensified over the past several weeks – have forced us to take this step to enforce our rights and protect our ability to communicate with all New Yorkers," Jets president Jay Cross said after the suit was filed in Manhattan federal court.

A call to Cablevision for comment was not immediately returned. The company made a $600 million offer for the rail yard on the Hudson River where the stadium would rise, but the Jets' suit dismissed that as a sham bid made simply to block their project.

Last week, Cablevision officials said the company would not run advertisements that support a plan for the proposed stadium on local cable channels and would run anti-stadium ads instead.

The Cablevision-owned Madison Square Garden is a few blocks from the proposed stadium site, and its owners feel the new facility would steal some of their business. Cablevision owns the NBA's New York Knicks and NHL's New York Rangers, who play their home games at the Garden.

The stadium also is the linchpin to the city's bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others have said that without a commitment to build the stadium, the International Olympic Committee is likely to choose one of four other cities contending for the right to host the Games.

NFL owners said Tuesday that they would decide next week whether to play the 2010 Super Bowl in New York at the proposed stadium – a vote seen as a possible boost for the proposal.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press