City looking for qualified candidates to manage and operate Blue Cross Arena

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -The City of Rochester has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the operation and management of the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.

The 14,000-seat arena is the Finger Lakes Region’s primary sports and entertainment destination and is slated to undergo a $7 million upgrade as part of the City’s Roc the Riverway initiative.

Rochester Arena, LLC (RA), a Pegula-related entity, is the current operator of the Blue Cross Arena. RA entered into an arena license agreement with the city on Oct. 14, 2019 that granted them exclusive use of the arena. That contract included a provision that enabled RA to opt out of the license agreement by providing the city with 180 days advance written notice of their intent to do so.

RA provided written notice on March 28, 2024 of their intent to opt-out. They will continue to operate the arena through April 30, 2025, until the new operator selected through the RFP process will fully assume operation and management responsibilities. The April 30 date allows for a six-month transitional period for a new arena operator, which would begin their work in October.

The opt-out of contract does not affect the Rochester Americans’ or Knighthawks’ occupancy of the arena.

The city is seeking qualified facility managers to provide operational, sales, and marketing services for the 255,540 square-foot arena, which was built in 1955 and had a $41 million renovation in 1998.

The city owns the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial and maintains the building through its capital improvement budget.

Minimum qualifications for bidders include the successful management of at least one all-purpose arena with a seating capacity of at least 10,000 people during the last three years, among others. The submission deadline for proposals is May 17. Complete details here.