Behind stadium dispute, a fortune is spent on PR

NEW YORK: The long, contentious bid by the New York Jets and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to erect a new stadium on Manhattan's West Side suffered a potentially fatal blow thanks to a state-board vote last week, but not before both sides poured millions of dol

NEW YORK: The long, contentious bid by the New York Jets and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to erect a new stadium on Manhattan's West Side suffered a potentially fatal blow thanks to a state-board vote last week, but not before both sides poured millions of dol

"This was not decided in the boardroom," noted Porter Novelli sports marketing partner Jason Teitler. "It was actually decided through the battles in the media."

The combined lobbying tab for the Jets and stadium opponent Cablevision reached the tens of millions of dollars even before the decision was made, and could climb higher when all the figures are tallied.

PR took on a key role in the battle last March, when Cablevision refused to show Jets ads touting the plan. The Jets worked with Ken Sunshine Associates and Mercury Public Affairs, and brought out a host of high-profile endorsements and public events casting their plan as a boon to the local economy.

Still, Cablevision's anti-stadium crusade (the company also owns nearby Madison Square Garden, which stood to lose convention and event business to a new stadium) succeeded in establishing itself as a home base for the diverse group of activists who opposed the project on civic, environmental, and economic grounds. The company even funded the New York Association for Better Choices (NYABC), a group serving as an audible voice against the project.

Sloane & Company spent a year as the AOR for NYABC, working to gain media coverage and position the group as a coalition of grassroots activists united against the stadium.

Whit Clay, Sloane & Company MD who headed the account, declined to speak to PRWeek.

Jets VP Matt Higgins, who spearheaded the team's stadium drive, was unavailable.

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