What’s in a name? That which we call a stadium; by any other name would sound as sweet. The home of the Buffalo Bills has had several names since opening in 1973. Before the first fans trickled in, Buffalo-based Rich Products purchased the naming rights to the stadium. Calling it “Rich Stadium” to advertise coffee, the name stuck until 1998.
Even that name wasn’t without contention. Owner Ralph C. Wilson had matched the offer from Rich Products, wanting to call it “Buffalo Bills Stadium.” There was even a lawsuit after the team made a habit of forgetting to call it Rich Stadium.
When the initial naming rights deal expired, it was renamed in honor of Mr. Wilson, “Ralph Wilson” stadium or “The Ralph” for short. While that was less controversial, it did lead to puke jokes in connection with Buffalo’s notoriously raucous fans.
In 2016 the naming rights were sold once again to a Buffalo-based company but I’m betting most fans don’t need a history lesson from only five years ago. New Era Field or “The Cap” was born—until they backed out last year.
For the 2020 season, Ralph Wilson mostly got his initial wish as the stadium was called “Bills Stadium.” It was known at the time that this would be an interim name and we know now that Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield acquired the naming rights.
Officially the stadium is now known as “Highmark Stadium.” Traditionally, an abbreviated nickname comes into play as noted above. Fans have already tossed out ideas such as “The Mark,” or “The Shield.” Shortening to “Highmark” makes sense.
With all that said, what do you think? Some fans surely will prefer the technical accuracy of the official name. Nostalgia will make sure that all of the prior names will come into play. And I’m betting a new nickname or two will become popular.
What are you going to call the stadium?
This poll is closed