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Buffalo Bills Could Face Challenges Funding New Stadium

Ralph Wilson Stadium

The Buffalo Bills are still evaluating their long-term facility options, but say that it might be difficult to fund a new stadium to replace New Era Field

Currently the sixth-oldest stadium in the NFL, New Era Field originally opened in 1973. The stadium received $130 million in renovations in 2014 and has more on the way for the 2018 season, but its overall condition is generally regarded as out of date by NFL standards.

That has prompted speculation about whether a replacement is in the offing, but the Bills’ lease runs until the summer of 2023. Per the Buffalo News, Bill co-owner Kim Pegula says that the organization is “still fact-finding.” Time will tell where the fact-finding process leads the Bills in their facility decision, but Pegula explains that there could challenges to pulling together the funding for a new stadium. More from The Buffalo News:

Kim Pegula sees the Buffalo Bills facing a difficult road toward a new stadium, because all entities involved will balk at contributing to a price tag likely to exceed the team’s purchase price of $1.4 billion.

“I don’t even know if we can get there,” the team’s co-owner told The Buffalo News while attending the NFL spring meeting. “I know fans in Buffalo don’t want higher ticket prices, they don’t want PSLs (personal seat licenses). The state doesn’t want to give you any money, the city doesn’t … We don’t have a billion-and-a-half dollars sitting around. We used it to buy the team.”

Pegula said she and Pegula Sports & Entertainment Chief Operating Officer Bruce Popko have taken the lead on the Bills’ long-term stadium planning since Russ Brandon’s May 1 resignation as president of PSE and its sports franchises.

“It’s going to be hard, so that’s why we’re trying to get all the options,” Pegula said.

The Bills do have a clause in their lease agreement that allows them to opt-out in 2020, but the team has indicated that it does not plan to exercise that option. Upcoming renovations to New Era Field are set to be completed prior to the 2018 season, and place a particular emphasis on the stadium’s sideline clubs. The project is privately financed.

Image courtesy Buffalo Bills.

RELATED STORIES: Pegula: Buffalo Bills Are Not in Planning Process for New StadiumBuffalo Bills Seek On-Field Success Before New Stadium RequestNFL To Bills: You Need New Stadium. Bills: Not So Much. 

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