No stadium sponsor in place for start of Bills' 2020 campaign
The Buffalo Bills, of American football’s NFL, have announced they will go into the upcoming season without a naming rights partner for their stadium.
The team’s home will be known as Bills Stadium this season after headwear and apparel firm New Era Cap Company requested to be released from its seven-year naming rights agreement with the franchise last month.
The venue has been known as New Era Field since 2016 and the deal with New Era, reportedly worth around $4 million per year, was due to run until 2022.
That contract was set to cover the remaining seven years of the Bills' lease with the county-controlled stadium, with New Era having the first right of refusal to extend the agreement under a new lease or if a new stadium was built.
The Bills Stadium will now be the temporary name of the team’s home until they find a new sponsor.
In a statement, the Bills said: "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 71,621-capacity stadium was named Rich Stadium when it opened in 1973, and renamed Ralph Wilson Stadium, after the team's former owner, in 1998.
One suitor for the naming rights is Barstool Sports, the sports and pop culture blog, with owner Dave Portnoy revealing on Twitter that he is “very serious” about a deal and has already held talks with the franchise.
As well as losing the New Era deal and failing to find a new partner in time for the new season next month, the Bills are also set to take a further financial hit if fans are not allowed to attend games, with Forbes projecting a revenue loss of $104 million.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders have agreed sponsorship deals with Constellation Brands, the winery company.
Under multi-year agreements, the company’s Corona and Pacifico brands will serve as the official beer of the Rams and Chargers, respectively, as well as their new SoFi Stadium.
The Modelo and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi brands will sponsor the Raiders and their new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi retains a presence in the NFL after deals with the New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Rams last season.
The alcoholic beverages will also have a presence within the new venues, as well as logo and marketing rights.
The 2020 NFL season begins on 10 September, with the SoFi Stadium opening on 13 September for the Rams’ first game of the season against the Dallas Cowbosy, while the Chargers will play their home-opener there on 20 September.
The Raiders will play their first game at Allegiant Stsdium on 22 September against the New Orleans Saints.