Buffalo Bills team up with their ‘Official Bank’ to create new program that encourages healthy habits, sportsmanship and hard work among local students
M&T Bank and the Buffalo Bills announced plans for the new M&T Bank Flag Football program, a joint initiative to provide students from schools within Buffalo Promise Neighborhood’s service area with a unique opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the game and the importance of active, healthy lifestyles.
Highgate Heights Elementary School and Westminster Community Charter School students in the third through sixth grades were invited to participate in M&T Bank Flag Football. Four teams were established — each school has one team made up of third and fourth graders and a second team for students in fifth and sixth grade.
Practices are now getting underway at the young athletes’ schools, and games will be played in April and May at the ADPRO Sports Training Center at One Bills Drive. The inaugural M&T Bank Flag Football season will then conclude with a special football camp in late May led by the Buffalo Bills and supported by M&T volunteers at New Era Field.
“The M&T Bank Flag Football program is an exciting collaboration create to help inspire local kids to adopt healthy habits, make positive choices and stay active,” said Betsey Locke, M&T Bank Senior Vice President of Brand, Advertising and Sponsorships. “We hope this unique experience encourages students to dream big, believe in themselves and understand they can achieve anything they want.”
M&T and the Bills developed this new community program following the extension of their longtime sponsorship agreement last year. Developing and leading community-focused programs has become a hallmark of M&T’s sponsorship of the team. M&T’s relationship with the Bills first began in 1985.
“M&T Bank continues to make a very positive impact on Buffalo’s East Side through the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood initiative. We’re proud get more involved in this important effort by launching the M&T Bank Flag Football program,” said Dan Misko, Pegula Sports & Entertainment’s senior vice president of business development. “It will emphasize the importance of sportsmanship, hard work and staying active. Beyond teaching football skills, we want participating students to gain valuable life lessons and this program will certainly achieve that.”
Experienced coaches identified by Buffalo Promise Neighborhood were hired to lead the program. The players will be provided with M&T Bank Flag Football jerseys as well as bus transportation to their games and the camp. Youth flag football equipment will also be acquired for the program. During the football camp, M&T will provide about 20 volunteers to help facilitate various drills and training stations. Additionally, as a nod to a longstanding element of M&T’s brand, the players will use green flags during their games.
Along with M&T Bank Flag Football, the flagship programs that M&T and the Bills have built include Touchdown for Teachers, The Comfort Zone and the M&T Family Zone. In its first 11 years, Touchdown for Teachers has recognized 43 outstanding educators and awarded about $30,000 to schools across Western New York. The Comfort Zone is a special premium section of the stadium whose tickets M&T provides to deserving nonprofit organizations, and the M&T Family Zone continues to serve as a family-friendly seating option for fans at New Era Field.
M&T Bank is the “Official Bank of the Buffalo Bills.” Fans can engage with M&T and the Bills and learn more about fan contests and promotions at www.facebook.com/mybillscard.
Julia Berchou, (716) 842-5385, email@example.com
Editor’s babble: This looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun!