Layoffs anger Buffalo politician, despite Bills naming rights

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Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he wasn’t referring to the Bills home stadium as New Era Field any longer, after the company laid off 117 local workers as soon as the federal Paycheck Protection Program ended.

The company took between between $5 million and $10 million in a PPP loan, but the layoffs came quickly when that program ended.

“I am exceptionally disappointed with New Era,” Poloncarz said, via Sandra Tan of the Buffalo News. “And I’ll say this. After seeing everything that we dealt with with New Era whenever we had negotiations on the stadium, I don’t believe we are going to give naming rights to any Bills organization that can sell them and then have an organization treat our community as poorly as New Era did. . . .

“I would rather see the stadium called Veterans Stadium than New Era. I won’t even use that name. I still call it Ralph Wilson Stadium. I’m a little disappointed in the way New Era treated in our community. That company would not exist without the hard work of the people in this community.”

The company is headquartered in Buffalo, and 117 of their total of 187 layoffs are coming from there. Poloncarz said he understands businesses are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, “but that doesn’t mean our football stadium in Orchard Park should have its name on it.”

“I’m sure members of the business community will be mad at me, saying ‘Oh, you should never criticize a local company, no matter what they do,’ ” Poloncarz said. “Well, the hell with it.”

New Era pays the Bills around $5 million a year for naming rights to the stadium, for a deal struck in 2016.

19 responses to “Layoffs anger Buffalo politician, despite Bills naming rights

  1. I know this makes good politics (ergo, “Buffalo politician”) but look at the news man. PPP was designed to help COVID. PPP does not help revenue come in (trust me, I know). PPP ends + zero revenue still equals an untenable job.

    Add to that COVID not only didn’t go away, but it is ROARING back…

    It sucks but it is real. I only pray I can keep floating my employees. Not everyone has that luxury.

  2. “I’m sure members of the business community will be mad at me, saying ‘Oh, you should never criticize a local company, no matter what they do,’ ” Poloncarz said. “Well, the hell with it.”
    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    A refreshing (and truthful?) take from a politician? nice to see. Also this guy sounds like my dad, I can appreciate a little old school honesty

  3. 5 million sounds cheap to me for stadium naming rights. People in buffalo are gonna be upset if they can afford their naming rights but not their employees salary.

  4. No class on New Era laying off all those people but apparently, they still have enough money to keep their name on the Stadium for the world to see

  5. Other biz reporting robust online sales. New Era is not?? Sounds like a poorly run biz

  6. As a resident of Erie County, Polocarz is just about the only politician in the state of New York that cares and works for his constituents.

  7. It’s possible, and hear me out here, that the PPP loan they received will float MANY employees, but not ALL of them. Did the article say anything about retaining a large portion of their workforce, but couldn’t keep them all?

    Politics is the poison of this country’s soul.

    Check that, politics is the poison of EVERY country’s soul.

  8. The company is laying off employees but the Bills are still getting $5 million a year from that company for the naming rights. How about the company and the Bills agree to use the $5 million to continue to employ the people laid off during the pandemic? It would be a great public relations story fro the company and the Bills. Heck, it might even make the politician happy!

  9. RIDICULOUS. Just more hot air from a typical politician.

    Layoffs means the other 70 employees can keep their job for now until business picks up and the company can re-hire those laid off. Otherwise the company declares bankrutcy and EVERYONE gets laid off and the jobs are gone FOREVER.

  10. It stinks for sure for those laid off but no clue what kind of financial shape New Era was in even pre-Covid. (Take a look at a company like Under Armour who was already struggline even before the pandemic.) At the end of the day there has to be revenue coming in to keep people employed.

  11. Poloncarz is just making noise.
    New Era had already closed their manufacturing plant 2 years ago and moved to Florida. All they had left in Buffalo was some administrative positions. It was inevitable they were going to lose those jobs anyway. The COVID-19 just accelerated that move.

  12. Erie County has been fleeced on the stadium since Day 1 when it signed a lease that allowed Ralph Wilson to ban high school playoff games, and then sold naming rights to Rich Products that Wilson refused to honor…basically allowing only one posting on the building of R-I-C-H S-T-A-D-I-U-M, strictly limiting the size of the letters to 12-inches. And then when Wilson died, the county didn’t cash in on naming rights and named the stadium after the old miser. Then came New Era, proud to call Buffalo its home, and now, after a tough decision on its employees, it has to endure Poloncarz’s posturing. Dear County Exec: Nobody WANTS to layoff employees.

  13. Erie County has been fleeced on the stadium since Day 1 when it signed a lease that allowed Ralph Wilson to ban high school playoff games, and then sold naming rights to Rich Products that Wilson refused to honor…basically allowing only one posting on the building of R-I-C-H S-T-A-D-I-U-M, strictly limiting the size of the letters to 12-inches. And then when Wilson died, the county didn’t cash in on naming rights and named the stadium after the old miser. Then came New Era, proud to call Buffalo its home, and now, after a tough decision on its employees, it has to endure Poloncarz’s posturing. Dear County Exec: Nobody WANTS to layoff employees.

    ———————————————–
    well I know you have at least 2 falsehoods in your story, I know they have had many high school sectional games in the stadium over the years and it was named Ralph Wilson Stadium in 1998 while the “Miser” was very alive and kicking. Ralph didn’t like the idea of Corporate Stadium names and fought with Erie County over it. I happen to think Ralph was right. Some things shouldn’t be for sale.

  14. well I know you have at least 2 falsehoods in your story, I know they have had many high school sectional games in the stadium over the years and it was named Ralph Wilson Stadium in 1998 while the “Miser” was very alive and kicking. Ralph didn’t like the idea of Corporate Stadium names and fought with Erie County over it. I happen to think Ralph was right. Some things shouldn’t be for sale.

    **
    Wilson had the final say in allowing the stadium to be used for HS football, and it took pressure from the local school officials before he relented and allowed sectionals. My apology for not making that more clear…but it is not a falsehood. And maybe Ralph Wilson didn’t like the idea of corporate stadium names, but you miss the point – it wasn’t HIS stadium, it belongs to the people of Erie County. He could have paid for the naming rights and called it anything he deemed fit, and then I wouldn’t be able to call him the Old Miser.

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