Times Union Center gets a new name; Newspaper rejects contract extension

ALBANY – The former Knickerbocker Arena will get a fourth name in its fourth decade of existence.

The Times Union newspaper announced on Wednesday that it would not renew its naming rights agreement for the downtown Albany sports / performance / event venue that has been named after 2007.

The agreement expires Thursday evening, but the district-owned facility will continue to be referred to as the Times Union Center through the end of the year as new proposals for naming rights are sought.

The facility was built for $ 69 million in the late 1980s. A concert by Frank Sinatra in January 1990 was the first public event in the new Knickerbocker Arena.

In 1997 it became the Pepsi Arena. In 2006, the Colonie newspaper bought the naming rights for ten years and extended the deal for another five years in 2016.

Such agreements provide money for the venue owner and visibility for the sponsor. In this case, the newspaper also gained traffic on its website.

The Times Union, part of the Hearst national media empire, paid $ 350,000 a year for the right to put their name on the venue.

Editor and CEO George R. Hearst III said Wednesday the newspaper values ​​its 15-year partnership with the county but has decided to expand its visibility in other ways.

It said it would continue to sponsor events like the Aurora Games and Home Expo at the arena.

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy thanked the newspaper for its support and said a call for proposals for naming rights would be published shortly.

So if it doesn’t return to Knickerbocker, the arena will soon have its fourth name.

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