A local bank made a substantial transaction in the downtown area Wednesday. Adirondack Bank has purchased the naming rights to the 4,000-seat Utica Memorial Auditorium for $2 million.
Adirondack Bank has purchased the naming rights to the 4,000-seat Utica Memorial Auditorium, which opened in 1960. For the next decade, the multi-purpose arena will be known as the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The 10-year naming rights pact is for $2 million, Mohawk Valley Garden Inc. President Robert Esche said.
“This auditorium was built on the pride of the community and the veterans that gave their lives and served our country,” President and CEO of Adirondack Bank Rocco Arcuri said after the deal was announced. “We thought it was a great fit for us.”
The agreement is between the bank and the Upper Mohawk Valley Auditorium Authority, which oversees the facility. The deal was announced Wednesday at a news conference on the Aud’s front lawn near Oriskany Street. The event included officials from the auditorium, the bank, Oneida County, Mohawk Valley Garden and Utica College, as well as local veterans.
“It’s becoming the type of auditorium that I think everybody envisioned probably 60 years ago,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. said. “As things have changed over the years, it is no different here in Oneida County and Utica than it is in some bigger cities. It is a small venue, but it has all of the feel and all of the excitement … of a large arena.”
The building serves as the home to the popular Utica Comets American Hockey League franchise as well as the Utica College men’s and women’s NCAA Division III hockey programs. The venue also has hosted a variety of concerts, shows and events throughout the years.
Officials said it was important to keep the “Memorial” portion of the building’s name as a way to continue to honor veterans in the Mohawk Valley. Vincent Scalise, executive director of Central New York Veterans Outreach Center, said the move “will preserve the memories of veterans for years to come.”
“When we did this, we met with the veterans and wanted to make sure this was something that … they viewed in a positive manner,” said Esche, who noted the Aud’s General Manager Rick Redmond is a combat veteran.
Arcuri said a key motivation for the agreement is to provide support for the community. Since May, the building has been undergoing a multi-million-dollar, 21,000-square-foot addition and renovation project, which is expected to be completed before Oct. 27 when the UC men’s team plays its first home game. The Comets home opener is Nov. 1.
Reaction to the name change on the O-D’s Facebook page was mixed:
* “Most arenas have a sponsor name, so it’s not a big deal. Let’s all be thankful it’s still here and bringing things to this city.”
* “If the sponsorship helps to ensure the financial stability of the team so that they will stay here for a long period of time, more power to it.”
* “Leave the name alone … always has and always will be the Aud!”
* “The Aud will always be the name; history speaks for itself.”
Signage with the name change is expected to be placed around the outside of the building soon, Esche said. The bank’s logo also will appear on Comets’ helmets. The bank has been a sponsor for Utica College events as well.
“When you come to these games, they’re so loud,” said Arcuri, who noted that the bank will get one of six new suites being added during the construction project. “Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?”
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