The home of hockey’s Syracuse Crunch (AHL) is now known as Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial, as a new naming-rights deal is unveiled. This is part of an 11-year partnership announced by the team, Onondaga County, and Upstate Medical University.
The sponsorship also includes health programming and the continuation of Upstate’s sponsorship with the Syracuse Crunch.
“We are thrilled that Upstate Medical University has expanded their partnership with Onondaga County and Syracuse Crunch to now have the Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial,” said County Executive Ryan McMahon. “As I have said repeatedly, the primary tenant of this building will always be our veterans. I am pleased that they have been consulted in this process and will also receive many benefits from this expanded partnership.”
“We are delighted with the naming rights agreement as it increases awareness of Upstate’s clinical, education and research mission, as well creates new health programming and outreach in the heart of downtown. As we have significant relationships with the veteran community, we are further honored that the opportunity for the named arena is at the Onondaga County War Memorial,” said Robert Corona, DO, MBA, chief executive officer of Upstate University Hospital. “We are also very pleased to continue our long-standing sponsorship with the Crunch. This partnership unites the region’s only academic medical center and largest employer with the region’s only professional hockey team.”
“Today’s exciting announcement comes as the result of a fully collaborative effort involving Onondaga County, Upstate Medical University, our local veteran organization and the Syracuse Crunch Hockey Club,” said Crunch Owner Howard Dolgon. “This is a great day for our community, our fans and everyone who will enjoy any of the hundreds of future events at the Upstate Medical University Arena.”
The naming rights element of the agreement provides for the use of the name Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial. In addition to Upstate’s name on major exterior and interior signage, it will be used on websites, social media outlets, tickets, television and radio broadcasts and other promotional materials. The agreement also includes a foundation established by the Crunch to support initiatives for veterans. The first-year cost for the naming rights portion of the agreement is $228,000.
The agreement also provides Upstate with year-round use of the venue as a site for health programming for the community and special interest groups, such as veterans and youth.
The other element of the agreement is the continuation of an existing 15-year sponsorship between the Syracuse Crunch and Upstate. This provides Upstate with opportunities to sponsor hockey games and related events to raise awareness of various health issues, such as “Shine A Light on Lung Cancer” and “Pink in the Rink” for breast cancer. Upstate also is being named the official hospital of the Syracuse Crunch. The first-year cost for the sponsorship package is $166,464.
The Crunch will also coordinate with the War Memorial Subcommittee to make a monetary donation during each year of the naming rights partnership to assist veterans with housing, in-home care, medical supplies, food and continued education.
Over 11 years, the total cost of the arena naming rights is $2,778,236 and the cost for the continued Crunch sponsorship portion is $2,022,594.
The Onondaga County War Memorial Arena opened in 1951. It has hosted some of the most well-known musical acts from Frank Sinatra to Bruce Springsteen and served as home to the NBA’s Syracuse Nationals, NLL’s Syracuse Smash and several AHL franchises. In 2018, the War Memorial Arena received a major renovation, including the addition of six luxury suites, the premier All Who Served Club, a new state-of-the-art scoreboard and updates to the facility that provide an exciting fan experience.
The Crunch have been a tenant of the venue since coming to Syracuse in 1994. In 2018, the team, in partnership with Onondaga County and ASM Global, announced a lease extension that will ensure the Crunch continue to play home games at the Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial through the 2029-30 season.
Along with Crunch games and practices, the multifunctional venue currently hosts over 100 events each 12-month calendar year, including concerts, ice shows, and other high-profile events. Additionally, youth hockey teams practice in the facility throughout the hockey season, while numerous veteran events assist in bringing over 350,000 people into the venue every year.