Bills, M&T extend sponsorship for five years

August 13, 2014 Updated Aug 13, 2014 at 7:51 AM EDT

By Allissa Kline, Buffalo Business First


Credit: ESPN

Bills, M&T extend sponsorship for five years

August 13, 2014 Updated Aug 13, 2014 at 7:51 AM EDT

M&T Bank has renewed its longstanding sponsorship agreement with the Buffalo Bills for another five years.

The "official bank of the Buffalo Bills" has partnered with the national football team since 1985. Announced Tuesday, the latest sponsorship extension includes a new "M&T Family Zone" located in Section 105 of Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park.

"The success and future of the Bills is important to fans across Western New York and we see many great reasons to renew our sponsorship with the team for five more years," M&T chief marketing officer Peter Eliopoulos said in a release. "This partnership allows M&T to bring some exclusive offers to our own customers and new opportunities, such as the M&T Family Zone, to the team's passionate fans."

The dollar amount of the extension was not disclosed. The bank's previous agreement with the professional football team was renewed in 2008 and ran through the 2013 football season, according to M&T spokesperson Chet Bridger.

Here are the highlights of the latest sponsorship deal:

The 500-seat "M&T Family Zone" in Section 105 is set to offer Bills' fans a "fun, family environment" on game day that includes visits from Billy Buffalo and free giveaways to all fans in the section. Those seated in Section 105 will be able to pay for parking in a special 50-space lot off Abbott Road.

The "Touchdown for Teachers" program that recognizes outstanding local educators will continue for the sixth consecutive year. One grand prize will be awarded that includes a grant and a visit from a Buffalo Bills player.

The "Gift of Warmth" campaign undertaken by M&T and the Bills will once again collect winter outerwear and cash donations for the Salvation Army. During the past five years, more than 11,360 outerwear items have been donated along with more than $12,000 in cash.

The football team will give away 20 tickets to the Aug. 23 preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood for families participating in BPN's Parent Achievement Zone program and another 40 tickets will be donated to BPN for the Aug. 28 game. BPN is supported through financial and human resources provided by the bank.

M&T's marketing relationship with Bills running back Fred Jackson will continue this year with a new series of online videos of Jackson as he prepares for the season. The videos will run every Thursday through Sept. 18 and they will be available on M&T Bank's My Bills Card Facebook page.

M&T, whose footprint extends to the Mid-Atlantic, is also a major sponsor of the Baltimore Ravens. In May, the bank signed a 10-year, $60 million extension with the Ravens to maintain naming rights to M&T Bank Stadium through at least 2027.

M&T (NYSE: MTB) and the Ravens first came together in 2003 following M&T's takeover of AllFirst Financial Inc. The initial 15-year, $75 million sponsorship deal was set to expire in 2018.

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