Crews remove lettering from Bills stadium sign

Bills, New Era reach stadium naming rights deal
Posted at 6:15 PM, Aug 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 11:02:07-04

When fans head to Orchard Park to see the Buffalo Bills play this fall, they won't be visiting Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Crews removed the lettering from the main sign in front of the stadium Monday, just two days after the team announced it had reached an agreement on naming rights with the New Era Cap Company.

Formerly Rich Stadium, the stadium was renamed "Ralph Wilson Stadium" in 1998 in honor of the team's founder, Ralph Wilson Jr.

Wilson passed away in 2014 at the age of 95.

It's hard for some Bills fans to imagine calling the stadium they know as The Ralph something else.

"It's kind of upsetting because Ralph Wilson was a good name to us," said Erik Slinko.

Seventy-six-year-old Carol Marsch remembers attending the first ever game at the Ralph, and would like to see the name stay the way it is.

"I went to the first game of the Buffalo Bills in the new Ralph Wilson Stadium," said Marsch. "Since Ralph Wilson owned that team for so long, I think we owe him also to have the stadium kept in his name."

Some fans, like Marsch, agree a name change would take some getting used to.

"I'd still like to see his name involved somehow, but New Era is a very large corporation," said Mark Slinko, father of Erik Slinko. "They've done similar things for the Buffalo community, so I would think it's pretty good."

While sporting a Buffalo Bills hat, Slinko said that no matter the name change, this will always be his team.

"It means never giving up, losing hope, always hoping the sun will come up tomorrow and keep hoping for the best," said Slinko.

New Era officials have not said much, neither have officials from the team. A press conference is expected this upcoming week where terms of the deal will be discussed.