Bills owners mull new stadium in Orchard Park, no mention of who would pay $1B tab

Buffalo Bills owners Kim and Terry Pegula, after years of pressure from the NFL, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and local media, are now looking into building into a stadium in their current home of Orchard Park, according to WROC-TV, citing “a source.” This unleashed a flurry of news reports from other sites, all citing WROC. The sum total of what’s being reported so far:

  • The Pegulas are “planning” for a stadium somewhere in Orchard Park.
  • The design would be open-air, but with a covering over seating sections.
  • It is expected to take 3-5 years to finish.
  • Legends, the consultants co-owned by the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees, have been hired to sell sponsorships and premium seats.

…and that’s it. It’s pretty thin gruel, and leaves many, many questions unanswered: How much would a stadium cost? (Potentially $1 billion, per prior reports, though supposedly Orchard Park would be cheaper to build in than downtown Buffalo.) Who would pay for it? Where exactly, would it be built? Would it get any tax breaks or subsidized land deals? The WROC report doesn’t address of these issues, which maybe becomes more understandable when you get to the part of the report where the station bemoans how “any New York State resident could attest to the folly” of “legal wrangling” with the “fickle and difficult state and local government” — apparently all my neighbors have been suing Albany and I never realized it?

With so little to go on, we instead get articles like this one from Yardbarker, adding five to 2021 and realizing that a new stadium might not be ready until 2026 or later, and seeing that the Bills’ current lease expires in 2023, and speculating that the team might have to move to Toronto or Penn State temporarily. Far simpler — and far more common a practice — would be for Erie County to just give the team a short-term extension while a new place is in the works, but you don’t get many clicks from “Bills could have to sign additional paperwork,” so “Bills could temporarily move to Toronto” it is. (Presumably Yardbarker hasn’t heard about the #BillstoGreensboro groundswell.)

This is almost certainly only the very beginning of a long, drawn-out process — or the end of the very beginning, if you count everyone spending years talking about it while the Pegulas went Gee, I dunno… to be the beginning — but it does seem to be more concrete plans than the team owners have pursued up until now. At least, according to the “source,” who could be leaking it because it’s for real, or because it’s a trial balloon, or to try to get the positive bits out first without any tough financial questions in order to frame the story as “How can we pay for this?” rather than “Why would a new stadium be $1 billion better than the old one again?” Hopefully some more in-depth reporting will follow, though given the past behavior of the local news outlets, I’m not exactly holding my breath.

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6 comments on “Bills owners mull new stadium in Orchard Park, no mention of who would pay $1B tab

  1. NdM,
    Why not go the “TIF” route in financing a new Bills stadium? It would be “free money” that “wouldn’t exist without a Bills Stadium.” (LOL)

  2. I am guessing it would probably be the state/county/team. Similar mix to Minnesota which was 50ish% team, the state was like 35% and the City was 15%. In this case it would have to be county because the city of Orchard Park is too small.

  3. No love for Buffalo (or at least the Bills) on FoS boards… if this was a theoretical A’s move threat there would be ten times the comments (and many fewer paying fans, naturally).

    New mayor for Buffalo… not that that matters that much to the Orchard Park area, but still.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/23/nyregion/india-walton-buffalo-mayor-socialist.html

    Interesting times.

    1. If the Bills were threatening to leave the area there would be an uproar but if they’re just building a new stadium next to the existing one this is more along the times of what the Jets/Giants did its not a big deal. I can’t think of anyone (even people in Toronto who want an NFL team here) wants to see the Bills leave Buffalo. As far as the mayor goes, the government portion of the funding will come from the state (Cuomo needs to accomplish something) and the county so no it won’t matter who the mayor of Buffalo is. It might have if they were asking for free land downtown.

      1. Haven’t you heard, aqib? The Bills are heading to Greensboro… it’s all over the media landscape…

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