MVP buys rights for 5 years – The Daily Gazette


ALBANY – The downtown Albany sports and entertainment venue, now known as Times Union Center, will soon be known as MVP Health Care.

The owner of the establishment, Albany County, announced Monday that it had chosen the naming rights proposal of the Schenectady-based health insurer.

The five-year deal will cost the MVP $ 2 million per year – the county’s $ 600,000 for the name and $ 1.4 million for initiatives in the region to improve community health and address inequalities in health care. There are two five-year options to renew the contract with the same conditions.

With the approval of the Albany County Legislature, the rebranding will take place on January 1. The new name will include the letters M, V and P, but the county and the insurer are still working on the exact wording, look and feel of the new identity arena.

MVP Health Care President and CEO Chris Del Vecchio said on Monday that the split annual payments reflect the dual purpose of the company’s decision to secure naming rights: to market MVP and promote its community health initiatives. .

Most of MVP’s annual payment for the arena’s naming rights – $ 1.4 million into a community investment fund – is a continuation of the work MVP is already doing.

In Albany County alone, MVP supports more than 50 organizations working for the well-being of the community through grants or sponsorships.

When the Times Union newspaper recently chose not to renew its naming rights, MVP seized the opportunity.

“Over the past year, we have sought out like-minded organizations and providers,” said Del Vecchio, adding that Albany County Director Daniel McCoy had similar priorities, striving to improve access to health care for underserved communities in this county.

It’s a bold move, said Del Vecchio, but it’s a moment that calls for bold moves.

The MVP’s $ 1.4 million annual spending goes not just to Albany County, but the entire region and beyond, he said.

MVP has 1,700 employees and 700,000 members in New York and Vermont.

The partnership with Albany County has some similarities with MVP’s partnership with the University of Vermont, which helps direct new subscribers to a Medicare Advantage product offered by MVP in that state.

MVP is looking for steps that would each offer multiple benefits.

An on-site farmers market would raise awareness of the arena and bring fresh, healthy food to a neighborhood with few options to buy it. Youth sports clinics would bring a new generation of residents into the building and promote healthy activities. Offsite projects such as a community fitness ground along the Albany Helderberg-Hudson County Rail Trail focus more exclusively on health.

And all of these things would raise the profile of MVP.

“It’s a combination of our community commitments and our marketing,” said Del Vecchio. “Some of them are just a redirect. “

The county named the civic center Knickerbocker Arena when it opened in January 1990, and then christened it Pepsi Arena in 1997 as part of the first naming agreement. The Times Union took over the name in 2007, but opted in September not to renew the deal.

MVP’s $ 600,000 per year is significantly more than the $ 350,000 TU was paying.

Del Vecchio said that when the county took a tour of the arena with potential naming rights bidders, there were about a dozen other entities in attendance. So MVP came up with a significant amount of money, but he also tried to present a solid offer beyond finance.

Albany County said it chose MVP over Berkshire Bank, MTX Group and Transfinder.

“We have received and reviewed excellent proposals from several other companies, and I hope there may be future projects they may be involved in,” McCoy said in a press release. “However, MVP Health has demonstrated that they share our values ​​of health equity and community investment through an annual innovation fund of $ 1.4 million that will help increase attendance at events at the MVP Arena, to support our local businesses, and to help Albany County build on the progress we’ve made.

Events at the Knickerbocker-Pepsi-TU Arena have drawn over 18 million spectators over the decades. It can accommodate 6,000 to 17,500 people depending on its configuration.

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