Sen. Joe Addabbo wants the Jets back in New York, specifically in Willets Point, Queens.
Addabbo, chair of the NY Senate’s racing, gaming and wagering committee, realizes it is a far-fetched idea at this juncture.
However, with NYCFC set to build a 25,000-seat stadium in Willets Point that could open in 2027, Addabbo wants officials thinking bigger.
He wants them thinking about a 70,000- to 80,000-seat stadium in Queens for Gang Green. The area also could include a casino and an increased presence for NY sports betting.
What Willets Point offers
The 61-acre development project in Willets Point is set to include the soccer stadium, 2,500 affordable housing units, and a hotel.
Is there room for a football stadium as well? Infrastructure and traffic patterns would have to be addressed, especially with nearby Citi Field and a potential casino project next.
“I don’t know if that’s the hurdle you can’t overcome to realize the revenue and jobs that would come with bringing the Jets back,” Addabbo said. “The Jets coming back to New York would be monumental.”
Healthy discussion on Jets
Addabbo, who also wants to push an online casino bill for the 2023 legislative session, also wants to have a discussion about the Jets coming back to the Big Apple.
“If you’re building a stadium — and I know it’s only 25,000 seats — but if you’ve got that kind of incentive to build a stadium, if the opportunity is there with the land and the expiring leases, we can connect the dots, why miss this opportunity?” Addabbo said.
“They’d have their own stadium, a newer, more technologically-advanced stadium, with all-new amenities and everything. To go into a brand-new stadium as the New York Jets and the marketing behind it, that just blows it out of the water.
“And the original residual effect, at least to me, in terms of online sports betting.”
Jets history in NY
At the least, Addabbo wants there to be a conversation.
The Jets played at Shea Stadium from 1964-83 before moving to East Rutherford, NJ in 1984.
They currently share 82,500-seat MetLife Stadium with the Giants. However, the Jets (or Giants) can opt out of the 25-year stadium lease in 2025 if they give the state of New Jersey 12 months notice.
“Personally, it pains me to see the Giants and Jets called the ‘New York Jets’ and ‘New York Giants,’ — even with the Giants having ‘NY’ on their helmets — playing in Jersey,” said Addabbo, who was on the City Council during the failed 2004-05 talks for a West Side stadium for the Jets. “It pains me.”
Jets sports betting impact
Addabbo foresees a possible return of Gang Green further helping the Empire State’s already record-setting online NY sports betting market.
NY is coming off $1.54 billion in online sports betting handle last month. Through Nov. 20, NY online sports betting operators have combined for $14 billion in handle, leading to nearly $600 million in tax revenue.
“Imagine if New Yorkers actually got to bet an an actual New York football club called the New York Jets,” Addabbo said. “I think it’s that much more of an enticing business that we would have for online sports betting.”