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CONNECT SPORTS MAGAZINE – Albany Capital Center Opens

Connect Sports

New York’s Albany Capital Center opened March 1, playing host to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. The grand opening was 12 years in the making—10 on the planning table and two in construction.

The $78.5 million facility is directly behind Times Union Center, host of the city’s major sporting events since 1990. Connected by covered walkways to both Times Union Center and Empire State Plaza Convention Center, the Capital Center adds 82,000 square feet of event space to create the Capital Complex. Combined, the facilities comprise 159,000 square feet of event space, the most in upstate New York. Three levels of underground parking provide access to more than 1,000 spaces.

“The Capital Center is a perfect ancillary venue to support larger-model sporting events for the region, offering meeting and event space and practice facilities,” says Doug McClaine, the venue’s general manager. “Albany is a great sports town, and the new center is going to have a positive impact on our ability to attract sporting events and groups.”

The center already has 62 events on the books for 2017 (and 28 more through 2021), and McClaine anticipates more than 200 events in the center’s third year of operation. Upcoming scheduled events include the Scholarship Dance Competition, Albany All Stars Roller Derby 2017 Bouts, North East Open Tae Kwon Do and the 2018 Albany Cheer Derby.

This year’s events alone will fill 3,750 hotel room nights; 3,200 represent new business in Albany. Early estimates say the venue will generate $26.5 million in annual visitor spending.

“We love sporting events,” McClaine says. “Because of our size, we really can roll out the red carpet for events and make them the focal point for the area while they’re here.”

McClaine hints at major announcements coming soon involving NCAA basketball, volleyball, fencing and hockey.

The new Capital Center was built with maximum utility and technology needs top of mind. “All audio and video is 4K,” McClaine boasts. “The building has a special 26-foot-high ceiling to accommodate basketball and volleyball and is actually a programmable LED wall where we can put logos, images and special messaging.”

Albany’s central northeast location (it’s about a three-hour drive from Boston and New York City) makes it an ideal venue for regional meetings and events. It has a thriving restaurant and culinary scene, and there are more than 1,000 hotel rooms downtown and 5,000 in Albany County.

“We have tremendous history here with the state capital and the New York State Museum within easy walking distance from the Capital Center,” McClaine says. “We’re very excited about the future.”