The Buffalo Bills and New Era Cap held a press conference on Thursday to formally introduce the naming rights partnership between the companies. The deal officially rebrands Ralph Wilson Stadium as New Era Field, and is valued at $35 million over seven years, according to John Wawrow of The Associated Press.
The deal ends the nearly 20-year span of naming the stadium in Orchard Park after Buffalo's (late) owner. Wilson's widow, Mary Wilson, displayed her support for the deal, in a statement sent out by the AP:
I love Buffalo and with all of the resurgence that it’s enjoying right now it’s fitting that the new naming rights agreement is with New Era. Naturally, there’s an element of sadness for me personally that I hope fans would understand. But I’m excited for the Bills organization and for New Era with their successes and it’s so great that a local company of this magnitude will be on this stadium.
Ralph’s legacy will remain intact forever with what he established with the Bills and the league. He accomplished so much during his lifetime in and away from the game of football and continues to have a positive effect on people’s lives through his foundation. Founder’s Plaza has become the fitting tribute to Ralph that we had hoped.
I want to thank Terry and Kim and the entire Pegula family for being so thoughtful and embracing of Ralph’s legacy, including the statue of Ralph that so many fans have had the opportunity to enjoy. I understand that it’s become quite the photo op for fans and Ralph would have loved that."
Since Chris Koch took over as CEO in 2001, New Era has exploded in popularity. A focus on globalization, aggressive deals with big leagues like the NFL and NBA, and a product redesign helped return the company headquarters to downtown Buffalo and raised annual revenue immensely.
Revenues for private @NewEraCap, which is sponsoring Bills stadium, will near $1B this year, says company CEO Chris Koch. Was $100M in 2002.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 18, 2016
The deal will see a re-branding of the stadium's signage, the launch of an exclusive stadium-only cap collection for the Bills and gives New Era the right of first negotiation for naming rights under the next lease agreement signed between the Bills and Erie County.
How do you feel about "The Cap," Bills fans?