The Buffalo Bills’ home will be called Bills Stadium until a new naming-rights partner has been secured, the NFL American football franchise has confirmed.
The announcement was made after the franchise last month accepted sports apparel provider New Era’s request to curtail a seven-year agreement that began in 2016.
New Era, which had reportedly paid $4m (£3.2m/€3.5m) per year for the deal, had a contract that was due to cover the remainder of the team’s lease deal at the stadium, which is owned by Erie County. However, New Era, which is based in Buffalo, has furloughed about 70% of its workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bills said that the transition from New Era Field to Bills Stadium would be temporary.
“As we continue the transition process from New Era Field to a new naming rights partner, we will officially use the name Bills Stadium for our home in Orchard Park,” the franchise said.
The 71,000-capacity stadium has been the Bills’ home since 1973. It was previously known as Ralph Wilson Stadium from 1998 to 2015 and as Rich Stadium for more than 20 years before that.
Bidet company TUSHY publicly offered $12.5m to acquire the naming rights, but Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz rejected the bid by insisting that stadium names are subject to state and county approval and anything that “embarrasses the community is dead on arrival”.
A fans’ group has also lobbied team owners Terry and Kim Pegula to rename the stadium after Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy, with a petition having garnered 3,000 signatures.
In February, the Bills chose not to use an early opt-out clause to terminate its lease agreement for New Era Field, meaning the team is set to remain at New Era Field until 2023.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has previously suggested that the Bills need a new stadium in order to remain competitive and reiterated that either a relocation or a major upgrade of Bills Stadium is required.
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