EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ-Continental Airlines has opted out of its sponsorship of its namesake arena here, a deal that dates back 14 years and has generated $1.3 million a year in cash and airline tickets for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority. The latter operates the state-owned 20,000-seat venue, as well as the adjacent Giants Stadium and Meadowlands Race Track.

The decision follows the move by the NHL’s New Jersey Devils to the new Prudential Arena in Newark, the departure of Seton Hall University basketball to the same venue and the pending move by the NBA’s New Jersey Nets to a new arena in Brooklyn, NY. Those moves effectively leave the 26-year-old arena anchorless.

“The purpose of our sponsorship was to gain exposure to major league sports fans,” says a statement by David Messing, of the Houston-based Continental Airlines, which uses the nearby Newark Liberty International Airport as one of its major hubs. “With the absence of major league sports, the sponsorship no longer aligns with our marketing goals.”

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