new era field

New Era Field was originally named as Rich Stadium. The stadium is located in Orchard Park, New York, a suburb south of Buffalo. Since its opening in 1973, it has been the home of the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL).

As an original franchise of the American Football League in 1960, the Buffalo Bills played their first thirteen seasons at War Memorial Stadium. The stadium is a multi-use WPA project stadium that opened in 1938, located on Buffalo’s East Side. While suitable for AFL play in the 1960s, the stadium was in disrepair and with a capacity of under 47,000. The league mandate instituted after the AFL–NFL merger of 1970 dictated a minimum of 50,000 seats. Thus, the team moved to then Rich Stadium.

Currently, New Era Cap Company holds the stadium’s naming rights and that explains the name of the stadium. The naming rights agreement was signed on August 13, 2016. Five days later (August 18, 2016), the Bills and New Era officially announced the stadium’s new name of New Era Field.

Prior to that, Rich Products, a Buffalo-based food products company owned the naming rights since the opening of the stadium. They signed a 25-year, $1.5 million deal ($60,000 per year), by which the venue would be called “Rich Stadium”. The agreement is one of the earliest examples of the sale of naming rights in North American sports. Also, the name was somewhat of a compromise. Bills owner and founder, Ralph Wilson, rejected the name original name Rich suggested which was “Coffee Rich Park.” It was by a vote of 16-4, the county legislature approved the name “Rich Stadium” in November 1972, despite a matching offer from Wilson to name it “Buffalo Bills Stadium.”

However, the Bills organization regularly referred to the stadium without the “Rich” name. So, Rich Products brought a $7.5 million lawsuit against the team in 1976. After the original deal expired after 25 years, in 1998, the stadium was renamed in honor of Wilson. Rich Products was unwilling at paying a greatly increased rights fee even though the new price was on par with other NFL stadiums in the nation.

The first NFL playoff game at the stadium came in the 1988 season. The Bills won with a 17–10 over the Houston Oilers on January 1, 1989. The Bills won every following playoff game at New Era Field until they were defeated on December 28, 1996, by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since the stadium’s opening until the end of the 2018 NFL season, the Bills have defeated each of the 31 other teams there at least once. They are also currently unbeaten there against the following teams: Arizona Cardinals (4-0), Baltimore Ravens (2-0), Green Bay Packers (6-0), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0).

The stadium is an open-air arena with a capacity of 71,870. AstroTurf was installed in the stadium upon its opening in 1973, which means the stadium never had a natural grass playing surface. The first renovation occurred in 1984 and the stadium’s capacity was increased to 80,290 with the addition of 16 executive suites.

About eight years later in 1992, 24 more executive suites were added. Again, in 1994, major renovations were made to the stadium. The renovations included the addition of the Red Zone and Goal Line clubs that are enclosed in glass and have 500 seats. These renovations also added 14 executive suites and a massive $9.1 million, 41.5 by 31.5 feet (12.6 by 9.6 m), Sony Jumbotron video scoreboard.

In 1998, another $57 million were spent to refit the stadium with larger seats, more luxury and club seating. The renovation was a part of the Bills lease renewal with Erie County. Due to this new facelift, the seating capacity was reduced to under 74,000. In the 2003 offseason, the original style turf was replaced with a newer AstroTurf product, AstroTurf GameDay Grass or also known as AstroPlay. The lease agreement also demanded Erie County to continue to upgrade the stadium.

In the summer of 2007, a new project costing $5.2 million was put in place. The renovation included new HD Mitsubishi LED was to replace the 13-year-old Sony Jumbotron. Additionally, more than 1,000 ft of Mitsubishi Diamond Vision LED Ribbon Boards were also installed in the interior during that renovation. In 2011, the Bills again changed their turf to a newer product, A-Turf Titan. As of the 2011 season, Buffalo is the only NFL stadium using the A-Turf Titan product.

On December 21, 2012, the lease negotiations between the Bills, Erie County, and the state of New York ended. Thereafter, the Bills signed a ten-year lease to stay in Buffalo until 2023. The agreement included $130 million worth in improvements to New Era Field. These renovations included new larger entrance gates, larger HD sponsor boards added to each side of the video scoreboard, two new 33.6 ft by 59.84 ft high definition video boards, larger LED sponsor board added on the tunnel end of the stadium, expanded concessions, new team store, and redesign of areas and lots just outside the entrance gates.

Buffalo is one of the nation’s windiest cities. As a result, New Era Field often is a difficult stadium for kickers, with swirling winds that change direction rapidly. This is worsened by the stadium’s design. The field is 50 feet below ground level and the top of the upper deck stands only 60 feet above the ground. The open end lies parallel to the direction of the prevailing winds. Thus, when the winds blow in, they immediately drop down into the bowl, causing the stadium’s signature wind patterns.

The size of the field at New Era Field is specifically designed for National Football League dimensions and sight lines. Its design makes it extremely difficult for other outdoor sporting events such as soccer, baseball, track and field, or rugby to be held there. None of any significance has ever been held at the stadium other than the opening ceremony of the 1993 Summer Universiade.

However, nearly 30 concerts have been held at the stadium. Concerts were host starting in 1974 with Eric Clapton and The Band. Several bands have played the stadium multiple times, including The Rolling Stones.

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Is New Era Field Cursed?!

Since the Bills moved from War Memorial Stadium into thei New Era Field, it has been noted that the team has not won a championship. Several writers have claimed that the stadium is built just yards away from a family cemetery as part of territory once owned by the Sheldon Family. A plaque just outside the stadium at gates 6-7 graces the cemetery and also notes that the stadium was built on the site of an ancient Wenro village.

Further New Era Field information pages:

Parking Information:
Read about available parking options on the New Era Field parking information page.

Ticket Policies:
Read up on the ticket guarantee and our chosen ticket marketplace on the New Era Field tickets page.

Seating Chart:
View the seating chart and find out about accessible seating on the New Era Field seating chart page.