Construction on a new arena across New Jersey State Highway 20 (now 120) from Giants Stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack began in
1977. Originally named Brendan Byrne Arena (named after the sitting governor of the state, who was also a member of the ownership group
seeking to bring an NHL team to the State), the arena opened July 2, 1981, with the first of six concerts by New Jersey rock musician Bruce
Springsteen. This was followed by an ice show later that month. Although named after Byrne, many people and some tickets and press releases
simply referred (and still refer) to it as Meadowlands Arena.
On October 30, 1981, the Nets, who had played their previous four seasons at the Louis Brown Athletic Center at Rutgers University, made their
debut at the arena, losing to the New York Knicks, 103-99. Later that season, on January 31, 1982, the NBA All-Star Game was played at the
In 1982, the Colorado Rockies of the NHL relocated to the Meadowlands and became the New Jersey Devils. Their first regular-season game, on
October 5, 1982, resulted in a 3-3 tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
College basketball arrived at the arena with the opening rounds of the 1984 NCAA basketball tournament. Seton Hall moved its Big East
Conference men's basketball games to the arena for the 1985-1986 season, enhancing a tradition that would soon become rich. The arena
hosted the NCAA Men's Final Four in 1996, the last traditional arena to do so as of 2007. On eleven occasions (1986-91, 93, 95, 99, 04, 07) the
arena hosted the semifinals and finals of the tournament's East Regional. Only Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium, which hosted 13 regional
finals from 1940-52, has hosted more. It also hosted the 1982-1989 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and 1986 Atlantic Ten Conference men's
Other teams that have called the arena home include the New Jersey Rockets of the Major Soccer League, the New Jersey Rockin Rollers of
Roller Hockey International; and the New Jersey Red Dogs / Gladiators of the Arena Football League. Two different National Lacrosse League
teams have played at the arena — the New Jersey Saints from 1987-1988, and the New Jersey Storm from 2002-2003. The New York Cosmos
also used the arena to host indoor soccer games. The venue also hosted WWF SummerSlam in 1989 and 1997, as well as the King of the Ring
tournament in 2001 and No Mercy 2004, and has hosted several episodes of WWE Monday Night RAW, as well as SmackDown!. It is set to host
SummerSlam 2007. It was also the scene of one of Ric Flair's NWA World Heavyweight title vicories on January 11, 1991, as Flair beat Sting in
front of a mostly empty arena due to a blizzard. The win was Flair's 8th title win, although, since he was recognized as the WCW world champion
as well as the NWA world champion (the two titles were recognized separately), it could count as his 9th title win as well.
The arena has been a popular site for concerts, due to it having been designed with acoustics in mind and to it having a lesser facility fee for
artists than competing venues, such as Madison Square Garden. Bruce Springsteen remains the most popular concert act to perform in the
Arena; his appearances have included a 10-night, sold-out run in 1984, an 11-night run in 1992, and a 15-night, sold-out run in 1999. This last
feat is commemorated by a large banner hanging from the rafters, next to the banners representing the achievements of the resident sports
teams. A 1999 concert by Dave Matthews Band was recorded for a PBS special, and subsequently released as a concert album and DVD under
the name Listener Supported. Portions of the Rolling Stones 1983 concert film, Let's Spend the Night Together, were filmed at the arena. The
concert footage was filmed in the fall of 1981.
The arena has seen the Devils clinch two Stanley Cup championships before a home crowd. The franchise won its first Cup on June 24, 1995,
and then clinched its third title in nine years on June 9, 2003. The arena also was host to the Los Angeles Lakers winning an NBA Championship
by sweeping the Nets on June 11, 2002, and the Anaheim Bullfrogs winning the 1997 Murphy Cup, the championship of Roller Hockey
International, over the New Jersey Rockin' Rollers. Summerslam will be here live in August. On May 5th, the Devils played their last game at the
arena losing 3-2 to the Ottawa Senators making them eliminated from the playoffs 4-1. Scott Gomez scored the final goal in the building.