The Buffalo Sabres' home is getting a name change for the fourth time.
The Sabres held a news conference this afternoon to announce that HSBC will no longer hold the naming rights to the arena at the foot of Washington Street. First Niagara has acquired the naming rights.
The new name is First Niagara Center. The Web address www.firstniagaracenter.com directs users to the arena website.
"This is the most significant sponsorship agreement in the history of Western New York, both financially and the fact that it joins two of the hottest brands in our region," Sabres President Ted Black said.
The arena, which opened in 1996, was called Crossroads Arena during construction. It became Marine Midland Arena when the bank purchased the naming rights prior to the opening, and it became HSBC Arena when that corporation rebranded itself in 2000.
First Niagara announced late last month that it was purchasing 195 HSBC Bank branches across New York and Connecticut, so getting its name on the area's premier arena would further boost the bank's name recognition.
First Niagara, which began as Lockport Savings Bank, put its name on an outdoor amphitheatre near Pittsburgh last year.