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Red Bull Arena: Busy Schedule June thru October 2023

Jun 15, 2023
Red Bulls Arena Peter Higgins Blvd Street Sign

As we step into the summer season, the Red Bull Arena in Harrison is bustling, bringing together thousands of soccer fans from across the country. The Arena is hosting a total of 33 events from June through October, eight of which are slated for June, creating a vibrant atmosphere that both thrills and challenges the local community.

The month of June kicked off with a back-to-back soccer game weekend. On Saturday, June 3, 2023, the New York Red Bulls battled the Orlando SC.  The Orlando SC won the game 3-0.  Hot on their heels, the NJ/NY Gotham FC took on the San Diego Wave on Sunday, June 4th, painting the weekend in the bold, thrilling hues of competition. Gotham had its highest attendance in its history over 15,000 fans but lost the match 1-0. The attendance at the game showed how much the fan base has grown.

Air Quality Cancellation

Unfortunately, not all goes according to plan. The NJ/NY Gotham v. Orlando Pride game, scheduled for Wednesday, June 7, was canceled due to very poor air quality resulting from the distant Canada forest fires smoke making its way to the Northeast and Harrison NJ. The concern for the health and safety of both the players and spectators resulted in the cancellation of the game. It is not the first time, air quality was a concern at the Red Bulls Arena.  When the Keegan Landfill in neighboring Kearny was open, the Red Bulls organization joined the fight to close the landfill at a time when others remained silent.

Sold Out International Game

Meanwhile, the upcoming Ecuador v. Bolivia match on Saturday, June 17, stirs up significant excitement. The game is a sell-out event, with all 25,000 seats at the Red Bull Arena spoken for, underscoring the avid following of soccer in the region.

There will be no event at the Red Bull Arena on Sunday, June 18 giving the residents of Harrison some time to recover from the sold our Ecuador v. Bolivia match.  The Red Bulls will however have a rare Wednesday night game on Wednesday, June 21 against Charlotte FC.

Back-to-Back Soccer Weekend

As June progresses, soccer fever doesn't wane. Another back-to-back weekend is set for June 24 and 25. The Red Bulls are pitted against Atlanta on Saturday, and the NJ/NY Gotham FC is set to face off against the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday. The last event in June is the eagerly awaited CONCACAF Gold Cup Games on Friday, June 30, featuring Panama against a yet-to-be-announced team, and El Salvador against Costa Rica. Harrison residents who don’t particularly like soccer and do not attend games wonder why can’t the Town of Harrison Administration build the promised Route 280 interchange and a new Jackson Street bridge to alleviate the heavy traffic and the closure of South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd.

Impact on Harrison Residents

While the games bring excitement and some revenue to Harrison, the impact on residents is significant. During events, access to homes and apartments near the Arena is restricted, and residents require a Harrison Police escort, causing disruption and inconvenience.

Additionally, the Harrison Police Department incurs extra costs for having additional officers on duty during games and events at the Red Bull Arena. This increased presence is necessary to manage traffic, ensure security, and assist residents, amplifying the logistical challenges of hosting such large-scale events. It is not clear whether the Red Bulls organization pays for the additional security or whether Harrison residents pay through their property taxes and increased rents.

July & Beyond

Moving into July, the Red Bulls Arena continues to host a range of matches including regular Red Bull games, Leagues Cup games, a CONCACAF Soccer game, NJ/NY Gotham FC games, a Premier League Summer Series match, and even a World Rugby Series game. As the summer winds down, the action continues with five games each in August and September, and four in October.

Lionel Messi & Inter Miami CF game

On  Saturday, August 26, 2023, the Red Bulls will face Inter Miami CF and it is anticipated that soccer superstar Lionel Messi will be playing. Ticket prices for the game have skyrocketed and there is a potential that the game will sell out.

Property Taxes & Litigation

Despite the challenges, the Red Bull Arena continues to stand as a testament to the enduring spirit of sport.  The Red Bull Arena management has not always been a good neighbor. At one point, the Red Bull organization refused to pay property taxes.  The Town of Harrison sued the Red Bulls and ultimately the parties settled with an agreement that neither party was particularly happy with. 

The Red Bulls made a compelling argument that they leased the property on which the Red Bull Arena occupied and their lease agreement did not include the payment of property taxes. Only owners of properties have an obligation to pay property taxes.  The Town of Harrison countered that it was assumed that the Red Bulls would pay the property taxes and that there was a precedent that a Sports Authority could charge property taxes.

A lower court agreed with the Town of Harrison but the New Jersey Supreme Court accepted an appeal of that decision in favor of Harrison which risked the Town of Harrison receiving no property taxes from the Red Bull Arena. The Town of Harrison had a redevelopment board but it did not have a Sports Authority.  The Town of Harrison administration ultimately made a business decision to settle insuring some property tax payments rather than risking the New Jersey Supreme Court reversing the lower court resulting in zero property tax payment to the Town of Harrison.

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