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Pegula: Potential New Bills Stadium Would be “Scaled-Down” Take on Other Facilities

Ralph Wilson Stadium

Buffalo Bills co-owner Terry Pegula indicated recently that a potential new stadium would be a “scaled-down version” of newer NFL venues, but emphasized a long-term facility decision has not been made.

In November, Bills owner Pegula Sports & Entertainment (PSE) announced that CAA Icon will conduct a study on the team’s stadium options–including a new facility or a major renovation to the existing New Era Field. Once it is complete, the report should help the Bills weigh their long-term stadium options, as the aging New Era Field originally opened in 1973 and the team’s lease there will expire in 2023.

On Tuesday, Pegula explained how a potential new stadium could look. Rather than directly emulate elaborate facilities such as the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium or the under-construction Los Angeles stadium opening in 2020 for the Rams and Chargers, the Bills could instead build something to a smaller scale that is more conducive to the Buffalo market. However, Pegula also stressed that the decision of whether to renovate or replace New Era Field has not been made, and that the results of the ongoing study will not be available until this summer. More from the Buffalo News:

“I think the answer is probably a scaled-down version of some of these palaces that are being built around the country,” Buffalo Bills co-owner Terry Pegula told reporters Tuesday night as the NFL meeting at the Arizona Biltmore came to a close. “The thing (Rams owner) Stan (Kroenke) is building in L.A. is amazing, Jerry Jones’ facility in Dallas. So we need to do something that’s Buffalo style.”

However, Pegula stopped short of saying he favored building a new stadium over renovating New Era Field, deferring to the results of a market research study Pegula Sports and Entertainment commissioned from CAA ICON to help determine the best option. He said those results would be available in the summer.

“It’s pretty extensive, the work they’re doing,” Pegula said. “I can’t comment on what the results are because I don’t know. We have dribs and drabs of what they’ve seen so far, but we’re open to any option and we’ll see what the market study says. … We’re waiting for our study to come out to see what all they tell us what our market can support.”

Until the study is completed, it will be hard to know what options are best for the Buffalo market and whether the Bills explore a new stadium or pursue a New Era Field renovation. However, it does seem likely that a potential new Bills stadium–should that route be chosen–would not be on the same scale as those of the Cowboys and Rams/Chargers, as Buffalo is a fairly small market by NFL standards.

It should be noted that the Bills are not the only major sports franchise for which PSE is seeking to solve facility issues, as the organization is also having CAA ICON explore possibilities for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. In that case, the firm will consider potential renovations to KeyBank Center, an arena that opened in 1996 but has fallen behind NHL standards due to its aging condition as new venues open and many facilities that debuted around the same time period receive extensive renovations.

Image courtesy Buffalo Bills.

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