Buffalo Bills land new stadium sponsor

The Buffalo Bills NFL American football team has agreed a deal for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York to take on naming rights to its home stadium.

Under the agreement, the Bills’ home will be known as Highmark Stadium with immediate effect. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Sports Business Journal reported that the health insurer has signed a 10-year agreement.

The Bills have been without a stadium sponsor since last summer, when New Era Company opted to end its partnership with the team three years early. The stadium had been called New Era Field since 2016 but was known simply as Bills Stadium during the 2020 NFL season.

The stadium has a capacity of 71,000 and was previously known as Ralph Wilson Stadium from 1998 to 2015, and as Rich Stadium for more than 20 years before that.

The Bills’ deal with New Era was reportedly worth $4m (£2.9m/€3.4m) a year but the value of the Highmark deal is unclear.

The Bills will work with Highmark on enhancing regional health and wellness through a range of activation opportunities at Highmark Stadium. Highmark’s branding will be added to the stadium over the coming months ahead of the start of the new season in September.

Kim Pegula, owner and president of the Bills, said: “We are confident that Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York is committed to maintaining their status as a healthcare and philanthropic leader in our region. We look forward to many years of working together with their team creating great memories at not only NFL football games but at many other health and wellness events and community celebrations.”

David W. Anderson, chief executive of Highmark, added: “The Bills are a beloved institution in Western New York, and there is no better way for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York to show that we plan to continue to be part of the fabric of this community than through this partnership.

“Together with our long-time partner, Pegula Sports and Entertainment, we envision this stadium to be an all-encompassing asset for our region and beyond. Highmark Stadium is the proud home of the Bills. It will also become home for future events that enhance the health and overall well being of our community.”

In February last year, the Bills chose not to use an early opt-out clause to terminate a lease agreement for the stadium, ensuring the team’s stay at the venue until at least 2023.

Image: Buffalo Bills