Albany’s MVP Arena, the former Times Union Center, now known as the MVP Arena, continues to rake in the success as Upstate New York’s Premier Sports and Entertainment Facility.
With an adaptable seating capacity from 6,000 to 17,500, MVP Arena is the world’s leading producer of entertainment experiences, be it sporting events, musical concerts, or family shows. This multi-purpose facility, averages around 165 events each year.
In 2000, MVP Arena was ranked 14th in total national concert attendance, leading Philadelphian and other major arenas.
Where is it?
The MVP Arena is located at 51 South Pearl St., Albany, NY 12207.
The parking garage is at the back of the Arena and can be accessed from Beaver St or Market St.
Originally inaugurated as the Knickerbocker Arena on January 30, 1990, Pepsi obtained the naming rights in 1997, and the building was called Pepsi Arena from 1997 to 2006. When the same rights were sold to the Times Union, they named the building the Times Union Center. The regional newspaper relinquished its naming rights in October 2021, and MVP Health Services changed the name to MVP Arena after successfully obtaining the naming rights.
MVP Arena is not just a Northeast concert venue, it is every sports fan’s dream location. Albany FireWolves of the National Lacrosse League, Siena Saints Division I Men’s Basketball team, and the Albany Empire of the National Arena League have called it their home.
Mayor’s Cup Ice Hockey, NYSPHSAA State Wrestling Championship, and WNBA’s pre-season, high school basketball, and CrossFit regionals take place here, entertaining thousands of fans each season.
MVP Arena hosted the NCAA Frozen Four in 2001, the first ever FanFest, and the premier NCAA events.
The first NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship East Regional First and Second Rounds were hosted in the arena in 1995 and were completely sold-out events.
MVP Arena hosted the NCAA Hockey National Championships in 1992 and 2001, while the NCAA Hockey East Regional in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000.
The NCAA Wrestling National Championships toured Albany in 2002, and in 2003, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship East Regional visited the Arena’s hardcourt.
The Division I NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Regionals returned to the Arena in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2016, 2021, and 2022. Their female counterparts graced MVP Arena for the first time in 2015, returning for regionals in 2018 and 2019.
Over the course of years, there have been quite a few sell-out concerts at the Arena. Some of the big names include: Celine Dion, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Metallica, Blake Shelton, John Mayer, Thomas Rhett, Jonas Brothers, Ariana Grande, Kenny Chesney, Mumford & Sons, Panic! At The Disco, Justin Timberlake, and Phish.
Harlem Globetrotters, Jurassic World, Disney on Ice, Sesame Street Live, Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live, Marvel Universe Live, and Monster Jam are some of the family shows visited and applauded by the audience.
Fun Facts About the Arena
- Frank Sinatra inaugurated the MVP Arena while christening the building on January 30, 1990.
- An Albany Patroons game held on February 4, 1990, was the MVP Arena’s first sporting event
- The longest hockey game in AHL Hockey’s 72-year history took place on April 24th, 2008, in the MVP Arena. It lasted 5 hours, 38 minutes, and 36 seconds!
- The Arena has 78 doors leading in and out.
- It took 30,000 cubic yards of pre-cast concrete and 2,500 tons of structural steel to build the arena.
- The scoreboard in the arena weighs 8-½ tons, equal to the weight of three adult elephants.
- For ice-hockey games, 8,000 gallons of water is needed to create a 3/4-inch-thick layer of ice, needed for the hockey playing surface.
- The curtaining system of the arena allows the capacity from 17,000 to 6,000 within minutes.
- The most performed acts in the arena have been by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. They have appeared more than twenty times.
- The arena also hosted The Grateful Dead thirteen times between 1990 and 1995.
- The former local sportscaster Dan Murphy sat in every permanent seat in the arena, spending 26 hours to achieve the feat.
- The First Lady, Hillary Clinton, was nominated as the U.S. Senate candidate by The New York State Democratic Convention at their statewide convention at MVP Arena on May 16, 2000.
- In 1999, the country singer Garth Brooks sold a record-breaking 51,000 tickets in less than three hours, generating the fastest gross income from an event. That means more than 283 tickets were sold per minute! 2 more records were broken in the same year, with 178 total events and most revenue by a single event, for a performance by the amazing Pavarotti.
- More than 500,000 WWE fans visited the MVP Arena between 1990 to 2021.
- The longest event day in the MVP Arena was held on February 28, 1998, when the MAAC Basketball Tournament was played for 15 hours and 56 minutes.
- The Arena’s only tennis event was played between Andre Agassi and John McEnroe in 1994.
- In the 1990s, the Arena was host to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament every year except for 1997 and 1999.
- The Siena Saints have a 7-2 all-time record at the Arena for the NIT postseason basketball tournament.
- The Arena was host to WWF Royal Rumble pay-per-view on January 19, 1992. The attendance was 16,307.
- The Albany Attack was awarded a National Lacrosse League franchise on May 21, 1999. Their first home game, on January 14, 2000, was a victory over the Pittsburgh Crossfire.
- MVP Arena hosted the NCAA Championship events for four consecutive years, from 2000 to 2004. Followed by the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship Regionals in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2016, 2021, and 2022. The Arena also hosted NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Regionals in 2015, 2018 & 2019.
- The Facilities Magazine awarded the Prime Site Award Winner to the MVP Arena 13 times.
- Phish set an all-time highest ticket sales record at the Arena in 2018. It took the combined effort of their 13 shows.
Restaurants Inside the MVP Arena
Albany Stadium Restaurant & Bar, Lam’s Kitchen, Ballistic Shrimp, and Pizzeria Sapienza are the four restaurants located inside the building.
Hotels Near MVP Arena
- TownePlace Suites Albany Downtown Medical Center
- Comfort Inn Albany/Glenmont
- Marriott Albany
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Airport/Wolf Rd
- Hilton Garden Inn Albany Medical Center
- Hampton Inn & Suites Albany Downtown
- Four Points by Sheraton Albany
- Cafe Capriccio’s Tuscan Garden Apartments