First Niagara Center to be renamed following Key Bank merger

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo’s only professional sports arena in the city limits will likely go by a different name soon as Key Bank prepares to assume control of the company in a pending merger.

Officials at a major press conference detailed the future of First Niagara’s major holdings after a merger that will likely be approved happens around the fall. Although officials say approvals will be required, they say they look forward to a 2016-2017 Buffalo Sabres season in the Key Bank Center.

The arena’s partnership with the Sabres will also be continuing without change, officials say.

“The Buffalo Sabres look forward to expanding our current partnership with KeyBank upon the federal regulatory approval of their merger with First Niagara Financial Group,” Buffalo Sabres President Russ Brandon said. “Once the financial transaction has closed, the Buffalo Sabres will have a far-reaching partnership in place with KeyBank through our arena naming rights agreement as First Niagara Bank will become KeyBank Center.”

All remaining First Niagara Bank branches will begin to be known as Key Bank branches, although a host have already been purchased by other holdings in order to clear the bank’s merger for anti-trust laws.

The Buffalo-based company will now be headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, however Larkinville will be named Key Bank’s northeast regional headquarters.

Most of First Niagara Bank’s sponsorships will remain unchanged under the new ownership.

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