New Era has asked out its deal for the naming rights of the Buffalo Bills’ home stadium.
The Bills announced the decision on Wednesday in a joint statement with the cap manufacturer, noting that the two sides are working on a buyout.
“The Buffalo Bills and New Era Cap Company jointly announce that New Era has asked to be released from their naming rights and sponsorship deal with the Bills,” the statement reads. “The Bills and New Era are currently negotiating the details of this separation, and the bills are in the process of pursuing a new naming rights partner for the stadium.”
Layoffs in Buffalo
Like many others, the apparel company based in Buffalo has faced financial hardship amid the COVID-19 pandemic. New Era furloughed around 70 percent of its workforce in late March. Workers have returned from furlough, but the company laid off 187 of its roughly 600-person U.S. workforce last week. Of those laid off, 117 worked at the company’s Buffalo headquarters, according to the Buffalo News.
Those layoffs followed the 2019 shuttering of the company’s Derby, New York plant that employed 200 workers.
The recent layoffs occurred after New Era accepted a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan of between $5 million and $10 million, according to the Buffalo News. The decision drew criticism from local officials, including Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
“I am exceptionally disappointed with New Era,” Poloncarz said. “I would rather see the stadium called Veterans Stadium than New Era. I won’t even use that name. I still call it Ralph Wilson Stadium.”
Poloncarz’s reticence to utter the phrase “New Era Field” won’t be an issue much longer.
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