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Prudential paying $105.3M for arena's naming rights

NEWARK, N.J. -- For a chunk of change, a piece of the rock
will be the next home of the New Jersey Devils.

"I suspect someone before long will be calling it 'The Rock,' and that's fine with us. That's been our icon for over 100 years and we're not uncomfortable with that."
-- Arthur F. Ryan, Prudential CEO

Prudential Financial Inc. and the NHL team on Monday announced
the company will pay $105.3 million over 20 years to call the
Devils' new arena the Prudential Center.

The $375 million downtown venue, under construction nearly
across the street from the world headquarters of the life insurance
and investment giant, is expected to open for the 2007-2008 season.

"As far as I'm concerned, you can't get a better name," team
owner Jeff Vanderbeek said.

Prudential CEO Arthur F. Ryan said the company wanted to be
associated with a world-class arena and a team that has won three
Stanley Cups since 1995. He said deepening Prudential's ties to its
home city was more important than increasing recognition of an
already well-known company.

"Very frankly, Prudential doesn't need that," Ryan said. "So
we had to look a little bit deeper. Part of it, of course, started
with Newark. We've been here 130 years."

Ryan also said he doesn't mind if the arena is referred to as
"The Rock," after the company's symbol of the Rock of Gibraltar.

"We're going to put 'Prudential Center' up there. I suspect
someone before long will be calling it 'The Rock,' and that's fine
with us," he said after a news conference Monday. "That's been
our icon for over 100 years and we're not uncomfortable with
that."

The city of Newark is contributing $210 million to the arena,
which was initially expected to cost $310 million. The Devils are
paying for cost overruns, Vanderbeek said.

The arena is to seat 17,625 people for hockey games, 18,500 for
basketball games and 19,500 for concerts. Amenities are to include
a 350-seat restaurant, 2,200 club seats and 78 luxury suites.

The Devils now play at the Continental Airlines Arena in East
Rutherford. The NHL team shares the building with the New Jersey Nets, whose new owner is moving forward with plans to build an
arena for the NBA team in Brooklyn, N.Y.