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Bills, New Era to announce new stadium name as "New Era Field"

Posted at 1:46 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 08:08:16-04

UPDATE: Crews worked Wednesday night to post a big New Era advertisement where words "Ralph Wilson Stadium" used to be seen. It's unclear if the advertisement is permanent, or will be replaced with a 'New Era Field' sign.

ORIGINAL STORY: Buffalo Bills fans won't have to wait much longer to find out what the new name of 'the Ralph' will be this season.

New Era Cap company and the team will announce the new name as part of the stadium rights deal at 11am on Thursday. Bills owner Terry Pegula and New Era President and CEO Chris Koch will be on hand to talk about the deal.

7 Eyewitness News anchor Jeff Russo confirms the new stadium name will be "New Era Field," as first reported by Jim Fink of Buffalo Business First.

Say goodbye to Ralph Wilson Stadium. Crews already took the name off the stadium in Orchard Park:

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.