ALBANY — The Knickerbocker Arena is now the MVP Arena, according to a deal reached between the county and the insurance company.
The deal, announced Monday, Nov. 15 by County Executive Dan McCoy and MVP President and CEO Chris DelVecchio is worth $10 million over the next five years.
According to the contract, MVP will pay the county $600,000 a year for naming rights to the arena. An additional $1.4 million will be placed in an “innovation fund,” to help grow attendance at the arena, invest in community initiativesand support local businesses.
There are two options to extend the contract an additional five-years each. If both parties agree to accept the terms for the duration, the deal will be worth $30 million.
Three other companies submitted bids for the naming rights after the Times Union newspaper opted to not renew thecontract, worth $350,000 a year, that had placed its name on the South Pearl Street venue since 2006.
Three other companies answered the RFP issued by the county — Berkshire Bank, MTX Group and Transfinder.
“When we announced the arena naming rights RFP, I said I wanted more than just a company’s name and logo on our facility,” McCoy said. “I wanted a partner that was committed to the success of the arena and the surrounding community. I’m thrilled to say that we have found that partner in MVP, which has a long history of successful collaborations of this kind.”
Some potential initiatives proposed by MVP Health Care through their bid include a community fitness court along the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, a neighborhood farmer’s market in the atrium of the new MVP Arena, an MVP Arena shuttle for seniors, individuals with disabilities and others events and year-round youth sports and coaching clinics.
“Like Albany County, we believe it is our responsibility to support the health and well-being of the communities we serve,” Del Vecchio said in a statement. “We are committed to being more than a name on one of Albany County’s marquee assets. Together with the county, we will unveil new initiatives and innovative programs to improve the vitality of the community and all who visit the arena.”
The venue was built by the county and opened in 1990 as the Knickerbocker Arena. It is managed by ASM and has an adaptable seating capacity of between 6,000 and 17,500 depending on the configuration. In the past 32 years, the wide variety of sports and entertainment shows have had a combined attendance of more than 18 million people.
It is home to the Siena Saints basketball team, the Albany Empire Arena Football League team and most recently, the Albany Firewolves of the National Lacrosse League. It has hosted musical acts like Frank Sinatra and the Grateful Dead and family entertainment acts like the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and monster trucks.
The county-owned arena recently underwent a multi-million facelift.
“We remain committed to continuing to improve and grow, and this partnership with MVP Health Care will help us do that, while also investing millions into improving the lives of those who call Albany County Home,” said ASM Global and MVP Arena General Manager Bob Belber.
The Albany County Legislature will need to approve the contract and plans to put it to a vote at next month’s meeting.
“We’re excited for a new beginning for our county-owned arena today as MVP Health Care will now lend their name to this premier entertainment asset,” said Chairman of the Legislature Andrew Joyce. “As a kid who was there when Frank Sinatra opened the place in 1990, I am personally looking forward to this next chapter.”