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Sponsorship & Marketing

Bills’ new home to be called Highmark Stadium

Featured image credit: Buffalo Bills

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York has extended its backing of the Buffalo Bills by acquiring naming rights to the NFL team’s new stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2026.

The healthcare company has sponsored the Bills’ current home, Highmark Stadium, since 2021. As part of the agreement announced today (Monday), the Bills’ new stadium will be referred to as ‘New Highmark Stadium’ until it opens, from which point it will be known simply as ‘Highmark Stadium’.

The announcement was made as the Bills held an official groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site of the new stadium. It will mark the first time the Bills have moved venues since the 1973 season, and Ron Raccuia, the team’s executive vice-president and chief operating officer, said that the continuation of the Highmark Stadium name would reflect a smooth transition.

“We felt like that was important to the authenticity of the franchise in the community,” he said. “Organisations and teams lose some of that value of the importance of a naming-right partner when it changes a lot. So it was really important for us to have that continuity.”

Dr. Michael Edbauer, president of Highmark, added: “Like the Bills, we have deep roots in Western New York, and share a vision that the ‘New Highmark Stadium’ will serve as a centre of engagement and improvement for our entire region. Highmark is excited to enter a new phase of our long-standing partnership with the Buffalo Bills and Pegula Sports and Entertainment while reinforcing our commitment to the community.”

Highmark’s initial deal with the Bills ended the team’s search for a stadium sponsor after New Era Company terminated 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.

Highmark Stadium has a capacity of 71,000 and the new stadium will hold around 63,000 fans. Following the opening of the facility, Highmark Stadium is expected to be demolished and redeveloped as a parking lot.

The Bills announced last month that construction of the new stadium would begin in earnest after the project completed its final formal step. It came after the Bills, New York State and Erie County announced that all documents and contracts for the project had been signed and submitted to the Erie County Legislature.

New York State will commit $600m (£485m/€562m) towards the project, with Erie County to provide $250m. The NFL, through its G4 loan programme, and the Bills will provide the remaining $550m. The team had been contributing $350m of the $1.4bn initial projected cost, but this has now increased to $1.54bn with the franchise committed to covering any overruns.

The open-air stadium, which will be built on a 242-acre site, is set to be the biggest project ever built in Western New York. The construction of a 75,000-square-foot ancillary building and demolition of the current stadium are also part of the site’s related development. Completion is scheduled for July 2026 ahead of that year’s NFL regular season.

The Bills have released three sets of renderings for the stadium, with the latest images showing how the team brand and fan culture could be represented at the venue.