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Nets welcomed at the Rock

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Newark Mayor Cory Booker at Friday's Prudential Center press conference.

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Devils Chairman and Managing Partner Jeff Vanderbeek and Co-Owner Mike Gilfillan were among those on hand at a Friday press conference welcoming the New Jersey Nets to Prudential Center.

Joining them were Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Newark Regional Business Partnership President and CEO Chip Hallock, NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Adam Silver, and Nets President and CEO Brett Yormark. The event was held inside the arena’s Verizon Tower and hosted by Nets television announcer Ian Eagle.

The Nets are set to relocate to Prudential Center for the next two seasons before completing construction on a new arena in downtown Brooklyn by 2012. Newark's Prudential Center, which opened in October of 2007, will host regular season NBA basketball for the first time, bolstering an impressive sports and entertainment roster that already features New Jersey Devils hockey and Seton Hall Pirates men's college basketball.

The Nets drew strong crowds for two preseason games at Prudential Center last October.

"We look forward to providing a gameday experience second to none at this building called 'The Rock,' " Vanderbeek said. "We look forward to showing off our state-of-the-art building in all of the Nets games next year, for well over 50 games."

Said Mayor Booker: "Newark, New Jersey, is America’s number one comeback city. We are a city that many people doubted and many people underestimated. We’re starting to show this nation what’s possible when good people never stop believing in themselves, and never stop believing in the magic of their being."

Yormark announced a new ticket deal to mark the team’s arrival. Beginning Friday, 500 season tickets priced at $299 each were made available to Newark residents.

NJ Nets announce move to Newark's Prudential Center

"We look forward to our two years here at the Prudential Center in Newark," Yormark said. "For us, the time was right for a change before we make our final relocation to Brooklyn in 2012. At the Prudential Center, we will provide our fans with the great “more than a game” experience that they’ve become accustomed to expect from us. They will see a best-in-class approach to both entertainment and basketball."

Mayor Booker added his own twist on pro basketball coming to the Brick City.

"I'm rebranding 'NBA,' " the mayor said. "It's now going to stand for 'Newark Basketball is Awesome.' "

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