March 28, 2018 | last updated March 28, 2018 7:57 pm

Insurer renews naming rights to XL Center

PHOTO | HBJ File
PHOTO | HBJ File
The XL Center in Hartford.

The XL Catlin insurance company recently renewed its naming rights for downtown Hartford's XL Center.

The Bermuda-based insurer, which is a subsidiary of XL Group and has a major presence in Hartford and Stamford, will keep its name and brand attached to the sports and entertainment venue for at least five more years. Its current contract was set to expire on June 30, according to Chris Lawrence, XL Center's general manager.

Formerly the Hartford Civic Center, the arena sold the naming rights to XL in 2006.

Financial terms of the deal weren't released.

Meantime, the New York Rangers NHL hockey team also recently renewed a contract that will keep its Hartford Wolf Pack minor league team at the XL Center for at least the next two seasons, Lawrence said.

The Rangers earlier this month signed a renewal deal with Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, which manages the XL Center. That deal covers the 2018-19 and 2019-20 AHL seasons that could extend to five years with a series of three, one-year options, Lawrence said. The current deal was also set to expire June 30.

Lawrence said the announcements are "exciting" and reinforce two "great partnerships" in Hartford.

"I think this shows the XL [Catlin's] commitment to the building and the community as a whole," said Lawrence, who also serves as general manager for Rentschler Field.

Lawrence said the city being affiliated with the Rangers offers tremendous benefits to Hartford.

"The Wolf Pack is an integral piece of the history of hockey in Hartford, and continues to be a staple in the community and entire American Hockey League," he said. "Hartford is a tremendous hockey market, and continuing with professional hockey here is very important to us."

The Wolf Pack, which played as the Connecticut Whale from 2010 to 2013, is in its 21st season as the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers, which represents the second-longest relationship between an NHL organization and a single AHL market.

Both deals come as the future of the XL Center remains uncertain. The aging facility needs major repairs, but the state legislature has been unwilling to approve a $250 million makeover of the venue, which was recommended by the Capital Region Development Authority.

In October the state legislature approved $40 million in bonded funds to renovate the XL Center, but they also mandated that the building be put up for sale. City and state officials, however, have raised doubts about any interested bidders coming to the table without substantial state assistance.

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