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A look back: Before they were New Era Field, KeyBank Center and Coca-Cola Field

A version of this article was originally published in August 2016.

With new names appearing on two of Western New York’s three major sports facilities, BN Chronicles looks back at the umpteen names that have graced these venues over the decades since they opened.

Buffalo's ballpark

Then-N.Y. Gov. Mario Cuomo and dignitaries at the groundbreaking of Pilot Field on July 10, 1986. (News file photo)

The downtown ballpark opened as Pilot Field in 1988.

After Pilot Air Freight stopped making payments on the naming rights, it was billed simply as the "Downtown Ballpark” for part of the 1995 season, until it became North AmeriCare Park.

In 1999, it was rechristened Dunn Tire Park, and in 2009, the signs were changed again to the current name, Coca-Cola Field.


Buffalo's hockey arena

The math: 21 years, 4 names. (News file photo)

As it was being built, the structure that was replacing Memorial Auditorium was known as "Crossroads Arena.”

Before it opened, Marine Midland Bank bought the naming rights. Marine Midland Arena remained the name until 1999, when the bank was bought out by HSBC. HSBC Arena became First Niagara Center in 2011 when First Niagara bought out most of Buffalo’s HSBC branches.

In 2016, KeyBank acquired First Niagara, and today Sabres fans attend games in KeyBank Center.


Buffalo's football stadium

The math: 44 years, 4 names. (Buffalo News archives)

Rich Products bought the naming rights to the Orchard Park home of the Bills in 1973 for $1.5 million.

The rights weren’t renewed when the agreement expired in 1998. For part of that year’s football season, national and local media referred to the building as Bills Stadium.

As a new lease was signed for the stadium in December 1998, then-Gov. George Pataki persuaded Bills owner Ralph Wilson to allow the stadium to be named in the team owner’s honor. The stadium remained "the Ralph" for many years.

In 2016, New Era purchased the stadium naming rights, leading to today's New Era Field.

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