Exterior photo of the First Niagara Center. Home of the Buffalo Sabres.

Image Credit: Elmar78

In today's fast paced world of professional sports, it's become the norm for a large corporation to purchase the naming rights to a stadium or arena. The fans seem to hate the trend, however, these sponsorship agreements provide a steady stream of revenue for the sports organizations. The agreement also provides the corporation with a unique branding opportunity; a win-win for both parties. The home arena of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres has endured yet another name change. 

When the arena first opened in 1996, it was named Marine Midland Arena before becoming HSBC Arena in 2000. When First Niagara Financial Group purchased the HSBC banks in New York state in 2011, the arena once again changed it's name to the First Niagara Center. Cleveland, Ohio's KeyBank merged with First Niagara Financial Group in 2015, which led to yet another name change for the arena.

The current naming rights agreement between the Buffalo Sabres and KeyBank will expire in 2026. The financial terms of the current agreement are still unclear. When Marine Midland Bank purchased the naming rights for the arena in 1996, the deal was worth $20 million for 15 seasons or $1.33 million per season. The financial terms of the current sponsorship agreement is likely in the same neighborhood. Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills, also sold their home stadium's naming rights at the beginning of the 2016 NFL season. The stadium is now called New Era Field. New Era Cap Company was founded in Buffalo, New York in 1920. 




Related Articles