Could the Bills soon be playing home games at Barstool Stadium? Dave Portnoy sure hopes so. The Barstool Sports founder has made no secret of his interest in buying the naming rights to the Bills’ home stadium in Orchard Park, expressing to his 1.7 million Twitter followers Thursday that he is “very serious” about presenting an offer.
“Bills Stadium” will serve as a temporary placeholder until the team is able to secure a formal naming rights partner. The stadium, which sits roughly 10 miles south of downtown Buffalo, opened in 1973 under the name Rich Stadium before the field was renamed Ralph Wilson Stadium in honor of late owner Ralph Wilson in 1998. Buffalo-based headwear giant New Era acquired the naming rights in 2016, but asked out of what was originally a seven-year, $35-million agreement earlier this summer.
The Bills have been searching for a new stadium name ever since. Bidet manufacturer TUSHY had hoped to rebrand Buffalo’s home venue as TUSHY Stadium, offering a reported $12.5 million for the field’s naming rights. However, executive of Erie County (which owns the 71,608-seat stadium) Mark Poloncarz later assured that would not take place.
On the surface, Pornoy, a lifelong Boston fan who once handcuffed himself to the floor of the NFL’s Manhattan headquarters to protest Tom Brady’s “Deflategate” suspension in 2015 (that stunt resulted in his arrest), choosing to align himself with one of the Patriots’ chief competitors in the AFC East would seem an odd choice. However, the attention-craving “El Pres” has never been one to turn down a marketing opportunity and lending the Barstool name to an NFL stadium would no doubt increase brand awareness. If he chooses to go through with his bold gambit, Portnoy certainly has the funds to pull it off. Portnoy’s estimated net worth is over $100 million.
Whether the Bills and Erie County would actually want to associate themselves with Barstool, a company with a controversial past including a long history of misogyny (among other problematic traits), is another issue entirely.