A new group has been created to represent and advance the interests of the State's publicly owned sports stadiums and arenas.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente will serve as Chairman of the New York State Sports and Entertainment Facilities Association (NYSSEFA) during its first year.

The organization will seek to publicize the significant impact that the Empire State’s minor league professional teams, and the venues they play in, have on the state’s economy and overall quality of life.

“Minor league sports generates tremendous economic activity in New York and Utica is proof positive of this on a daily basis. Since we landed an AHL franchise two seasons ago, the City of Utica has undergone a significant transformation and the revamped Auditorium has been a catalyst for growth,” Picente said.

The group will also work with facilities and local governments around the state to attract and retain professional sports franchises and events.

New York State is home to more than 20 minor league professional sports franchises, including the AHL's Utica Comets.