ALBANY — The search for a new name for the former Knickerbocker Arena is officially in the works.
On Thursday, Oct. 14, Albany County issued a Request for Proposals seeking sponsors of the multi-purpose arena on Pearl Street.
It was known as the Times Union Center for the last 14 years but the newspaper opted to not renew the contract for another five years.
“Today is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Albany County’s arena, especially at a time when we have so many incredible acts and events coming up, including Michael Bublé and the National Lacrosse League,” County Executive Dan McCoy said in a statement. “Dedicated fans and residents have known it by many names – from the Knickerbocker, to the Pepsi – but the thing that remained constant is top notch entertainment year-round.”
The $68 million arena opened as the Knickerbocker Arena in 1990 before becoming the Pepsi Arena seven years later. It has been the Times Union Center since 2007.
The newspaper had been paying $350,000 per year to have its name on the arena. It had a 10-year contract with five-year options, which the newspaper took advantage of once before terminating the agreement.
McCoy said there is a host of “local and international companies exploring the idea of putting their name on our building.”
“I’m hopeful that with this RFP we can generate even more interest from others as we move forward and continue to improve the arena and make it better than ever before,” he said.
The arena is owned by Albany County and managed by ASM. It can seat anywhere from 6,000 to 17,500 depending on the act and the seating configuration.
It hosts a number of different events including concerts, family entertainment and athletic contests. There are an average 145 events there each year, and more than 18 million patrons have visited the arena for one reason or another since it opened.
It is currently home to the Siena Saints men’s’ basketball team, the Albany Empire arena football team and the Albany Firewolves lacrosse team
Bids are due no later than Monday, Nov. 1.
RFP documents may be available for download from the Empire State Bid System website at the link here.