With the current agreement for Coca-Cola Field set to expire, the Buffalo Bisons (Class AAA; International League) are searching for a new ballpark naming-rights partner.
This spring, it was revealed that the Coca-Cola Bottling Company will not renew its ballpark naming-rights agreement when it expires after the 2018 season. That has left some uncertainty surrounding the ballpark’s name for 2019 and beyond, though it seems that discussions over obtaining a new naming-rights partner are well underway.
The Bisons have had conversations about potential partnerships but are not yet sure who will land the final agreement, according to team general manager Mike Buczkowski. During a wide-ranging Q&A with The Buffalo News, Buczkowski noted that changes made to the club’s lease several years ago gave it the rights to secure a new partner, and that the team is working to finalize a new agreement:
Q: The naming rights for the ballpark are up after this season, the 10th as Coca-Cola Field. What will the ballpark be called next season?
A: We don’t know yet. We’re hopeful that soon we’ll be able to finalize something, but don’t have anything that we can share yet. It’s not a bid — when the city did it, that’s what they did. But years ago, we restructured our lease for us to operate the ballpark, and along with the restructuring of the lease, it gave us the rights to secure the naming rights. So we’ve been talking to a few people about it, and we’re hoping to have it finalized soon, to have it in place for next season. We rely on the naming rights to fund a big part of the operation of the ballpark.
The Bisons’ ballpark has had multiple naming rights partners since opening in 1988, as reflected in previous names like Pilot Field, North AmeriCare Park, and Dunn Tire Park. Coca-Cola assumed the naming rights in December 2008 as part of a 10-year commitment.