Speaking from a Buffalo Business First-sponsored breakfast on Thursday morning, Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula told reporters on hand that he is not yet considering selling naming rights to Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Terry Pegula essentially says he doesn't want to consider naming rights deal for RWS for now out of respect for Ralph Wilson.— Mark Gaughan (@gggaughan) July 30, 2015
Pegula - possible naming rights deal? Ralph Wilson owned #Bills for a long time. His name on building special to me. Hard time answering— Jeff Russo (@JeffRussoWKBW) July 30, 2015
Pegula also noted that due to there being seven years remaining on his current stadium's lease, and with county and state governments pouring $130 million into renovations for the facility just last year, the team has still not begun to seriously investigate the possibility of building a new stadium.
The decision not to sell naming rights, while noble, is also a bit curious. Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.'s legacy is pretty well set in stone; he has been in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for six years now, and his name adorns the Bills' Wall of Fame (in gold lettering, no less), not to mention several buildings at St. John Fisher College, where the Bills hold training camp every year. Turning down an additional revenue stream in the name of keeping Mr. Wilson's name on the stadium is, at bare minimum, a peculiar business decision - especially when an option like re-naming the stadium but keeping the field in Mr. Wilson's name exists.
Regardless of what happens with the naming rights at The Ralph through 2022, in the very likely event that a new Bills stadium is built years down the road, that new venue will have a new name - and whatever that name is, the company behind it will be paying good money for that to happen.