EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants and New York Jets broke ground Wednesday on the first stadium to be jointly owned by two NFL teams and unveiled how architects plan to make two competing teams feel at home in a $1.3 billion stadium.
"Ensuring that the stadium would feel like home to both teams and both groups of fans was our goal and also one of the biggest challenges in the design of the stadium," said Steve Tisch, chairman and executive vice president of the New York Giants.
To do that, the stadium will feature an eight-story mega display, called the "Great Wall," with 400-foot-long by 40-foot-high panels featuring either team's logo or neutral colors for non-football events.
Tisch, Giants President and CEO John Mara and Jets Chairman and CEO Woody Johnson unveiled the design at a ceremony also attended by New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The yet unnamed building, for which owners are still working on a naming-rights deal, will host 20 NFL games each season - more than any football stadium in the country.
Constructed next to the existing Giants Stadium, the new field is expected to open for the 2010 season and seat 82,500 in a bowl-design, where seats in the front row are 46 feet from the sidelines. Fans also will find a 300,000-square-foot outdoor plaza for tailgating.
While Wednesday's event marked the official ground breaking, infrastructure work is already under way on the open-air facility at the Meadowlands sports complex.
Along with the design of the building, planners have been working to make access to the facility easier. Lanes into the Meadowlands will increase to more than 40 from the existing 16 and a new rail facility will connect the stadium to New York's Penn Station through Secaucus beginning in February 2009.
The teams cleared a large hurdle last month when each completed separate $650 million financing deals. CitiCorp is financing the Jets' portion, while investment banks Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers are financing the Giants' deal.
The teams also received a financial boost earlier this year when NFL owners approved $300 million in loans for stadium work.
The teams announced plans to build a stadium together two years ago, after the Jets' plans for a stadium on Manhattan's West Side fell through. The Giants had been planning to build a new stadium themselves.
Now, the Giants also will construct a new training facility at the Meadowlands, while the Jets are building their own in Florham Park, N.J.
The stadium is one of several new major sports facilities opening in the New York metropolitan area. New homes also are being built for the New York Mets, the New York Yankees, the New Jersey Nets and the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils hockey team is leaving Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands for the Prudential Center, opening in downtown Newark in October.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press