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May 21, 2007
Red Bull Park opening pushed back to late third quarter in 2008, could open in 2009

The opening of Red Bull Park has been delayed to the late third quarter of 2008 and could open in 2009.
The opening of Red Bull Park has been delayed to the late third quarter of 2008 and could open in 2009.
Courtesy of the Red Bulls
In a letter to the club's season-ticket holders, Red Bulls managing director Marc de Grandpre Monday wrote that the opening of Red Bull Park in Harrison, N.J. could be delayed to the 2009 season due to delays in the clean-up of industrial waste at the stadium, the MLS team announced.

At the moment, the Red Bulls were operating within a late third quarter timeline for the opening of Red Bull Park, de Grandpre said.

That meant the 25,000-seat soccer specific stadium would open sometime in September, 2008. This year's MLS regular-season runs through late October and it might not be wise to open the stadium so late in the year.

In the letter to ticket holders, de Grandpre said that during excavation of the grounds, construction crews came across "some industrial waste and multiple foundations which have made the clean-up of the site take longer than expected."

De Grandpre added that any further setbacks could push the opening stadium into 2009.

"All of us here share in your frustration, just know that we are doing everything in our power to prevent any additional delays from occurring and are hopeful we can make up the lost time in the coming weeks and months," he wrote. "For those of you who placed a 2008 Red Bull Park deposit, we are working on a plan that will ensure you are rewarded for your loyalty."

In an April 14 story on, former MetroStars president and general manager Nick Sakiewicz, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group New York/New Jersey, said that the opening of the stadium could be pushed back.

The stadium has been targeted to open in July, 2008. But that could change if there are general delays in construction or a bad winter.

"It's hard to tell right now because of the construction schedule is so far out," Sakiewicz said in the April 14 story. "We're still targeting the middle of '08. But there's no way of putting an absolute certainty on it because we're not deep into the construction schedule. Usually, you don't nail down an opening until you're really six or seven months out."

That won't be until January, 2008.

In April, Sakiewicz said that he would like to see the long-awaited stadium open next summer.

"I would," he said at the time. "At the same time, if it goes past the middle of the summer, at what point, do the Red Bulls decide, ‘Well, it doesn't make sense in opening the stadium up in August, September or October. Might as well wait until the '09 season’. "

Even if the Red Bulls decide to put off playing in the new park until 2009, AEG still could plan events at the new stadium as long as it was finished.

"If it gets pushed back to August or September," Sakiewicz said in April. "We're still going to do events there. Red Bull may elect to open the '09 season. We're still going to open the building. We've got a lot of other programs."

The Red Bulls have said that they would play it by ear.

"We have a flexible time line," Grandpre said in April. "We're not going to rush to finish it with one game left in the 2008 season if we run into unforeseen problems next winter. We have a flexible time line that says by this time if we know we're not going to be in by X-date. We'll make sure its done properly and move in in '09. There's no need to cut corners to get there for a few extra games in '08."

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