The home of the Buffalo Sabres has undergone a name change, as it is now known as the KeyBank Center. Prior to this week’s announcement, the arena–which first opened in 1996–was branded as the First Niagara Center.
In this particular instance, a name change was foreseeable. KeyCorp first announced that it would acquire First Niagara Bank last fall, and completed the transaction this summer. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but The Buffalo News reports that KeyCorp’s acquisition included the 15-year naming rights deal that First Niagara agreed to back in 2011.
After the multi-year sponsorship was announced by KeyCorp Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney in May, work began to replace all exterior and interior signage of the venue, as well as rebrand all on-site ATMs. In addition, the 200 level has been renamed the KeyBank Club and will include the KeyBank Lounge located near the Harbour Club. The Lounge offers a space for KeyBank Club ticket holders to relax, socialize and enjoy food and beverage items.
In addition to the rebranding of the venue, the organizations announced several enhancements to the KeyBank Center that are new for the 2016-2017 season, including the following.
- Guests of the KeyBank Center will now enjoy free, enhanced Wi-Fi access throughout the entire 19,070-seat arena.
- KeyBank Center has been outfitted with an advanced Ephesus sports lighting light-emitting diode, or LED, and controls system. The industry-leading system will not only create an enhanced viewing experience at the venue, but is also more energy efficient.
KeyBank also announced that it will be sponsoring a performance by musical artist DJ Kool at this year’s annual Party in the Plaza. To celebrate the Sabres season home opener on Thursday, October 13, the performance will include DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat,” the team’s official goal song, selected by fans last year. The pre-game event will be free and open to the public.
“KeyBank’s commitment to Buffalo runs deep and we’re proud of our strong and growing legacy here. We’re committed to helping our enhanced Western New York workforce and our valued customers thrive, but we’re equally committed to helping the entire community thrive, and that’s what this sponsorship is about. We are enormously proud to be working with the Buffalo Sabres and the Pegulas to continue building on the great partnership these organizations enjoyed with First Niagara for many years,” said Gary Quenneville, KeyBank Upstate New York Regional Executive. “KeyBank Center will continue to play an important role in supporting Buffalo’s growth and revitalization, bringing entertainment and business to the area.”
“We are proud to expand our relationship with KeyCorp to official title sponsor of our arena,” said Buffalo Sabres President Russ Brandon. “We would like to thank First Niagara Financial Group for its years of support and welcome KeyBank as a premier corporate partner that has pledged a commitment to the Western New York community. Guests at KeyBank Center this season will enjoy upgraded amenities including enhanced Wi-Fi and premier lighting to optimize the viewing experience. Together with KeyBank, we look forward to maximizing the fan experience in 2016-2017.”
In addition to being the home of the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres, KeyBank Center also hosts many national profile sporting events, tournaments and live entertainment shows and is home to the National Lacrosse League’s Buffalo Bandits. Since the venue originally opened in 1996, more than 23 million guests have enjoyed a wide range of events at KeyBank Center.