The Buffalo Bills remain mum on Rich Stadium's new name -- Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Stadium and Bills Stadium remain the favorites -- but the team has decided to name new club seats for three Buffalo sports figures.
Starting in 1999, anyone in a sideline club seat will sit in either "Jim Kelly's Club 12," "Van Miller's Press Box Club" or "Paul Maguire's Press Box Club."
Bills Vice Presidents Bill Munson and Jim Miller said Tuesday that the team has received commitments on 95 of the 164 luxury boxes in the renovated stadium. That includes 68 of the 88 existing boxes and 27 of the 76 new ones.
This after only an initial sales blitz with existing marketing people.
"We have not yet even started our regional blitz into Rochester, the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier and Southern Ontario," said Munson, the team's vice president of operations.
The Bills need to sell roughly 90 percent of their luxury boxes and club seats to ensure that the team will remain here from 1999 through at least 2003.
Of the 6,878 new outdoor club seats in the renovated stadium, the 4,248 on the visitors' (north) side will be in Jim Kelly's Club 12, named for the former Bills quarterback. On the press-box side, 1,315 each will be in the sections named for WIVB-TV sportscaster and radio "Voice of the Bills" Miller (southwest corner) and NBC-TV color commentator and former Bills punter Maguire (southeast).
"We wanted to create a theme for our new sideline outdoor club seats that people could identify with," Munson said. "After much discussion, we settled on three icons of Buffalo Bills football."
Each of the three areas will have a themed mural depicting one of the three men in the reconfigured stadium, which is to be ready in 1999. The new outdoor club seats -- roughly two or three times as expensive as the club-level seats they will replace -- also will offer heated seats.
The Bills are close to opening three new offices in downtown Buffalo, Toronto and Rochester that also will sell tickets:
Within two weeks, the Bills will open a ticket and sales office on the ground floor of the Statler Towers, facing Niagara Square.
It will give the team its first downtown presence in years, meaning that fans who work downtown will not have to drive to the stadium to buy tickets.
The team has looked at four possible sites in the Front Street-Yonge Street area in Toronto, with a new office expected to open in the next few weeks.
As part of its marketing blitz, the team previously announced the hiring of two new marketing representatives for the Toronto office and a new marketing director with ties to both Rochester and Syracuse.
The Bills said they have not yet come up with a timetable for season-ticket holders to choose their new seats, starting with the 1999 season. Because of all the stadium renovations and the loss of some of the most desirable seats, all season-ticket holders will choose new locations, based on seniority.