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Pegula: Buffalo Bills Stadium Plans Will Keep Fans’ Interests in Mind

New Era Field

A decision has not been made on whether to pursue a New Era Field renovation or replacement, but Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula indicates that fans’ interests will be kept in mind regardless.

Aging New Era Field originally opened in 1973, and could either be replaced or undergo a major renovation in the coming years. Last fall, 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 New Era Field.

The findings of the study are expected to be revealed this summer, and both Terry and Kim Pegula have maintained that any formal discussions surrounding stadium plans will not begin until after the report’s results are finalized. In recent comments, Terry Pegula emphasized that regardless of what the Bills ultimately pursue, they will work on a plan that benefits the fan base. More from the AP:

Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula says he won’t ask fans to break the bank when it comes to deciding whether to renovate the team’s current stadium in the suburbs or build a new one downtown.

“Whatever we’re going to do stadium-wise is going to be in the best interest of our fans,” Pegula told The Associated Press during a wide-ranging interview before the start of the NHL draft in Vancouver. “We have the interest of our fans at heart, and what we do will be heavily weighted — whatever the plan is — toward the benefit of our fans.”…

Both options are deemed expensive and have raised concerns over how much public money might be required to fund the project, and how much a new stadium could boost ticket prices in one of the NFL’s smallest markets.

A New York state-funded study in 2014 projected the next round of renovations would cost $540 million, including for structural improvements and rebuilding the stadium’s third deck. A new facility would cost almost double that, depending on location and whether it features a roof and based on how much infrastructure upgrades — expanded roads, access ramps, public transportation — might be necessary.

One question that has loomed for years is whether a new stadium in Buffalo–a small market by NFL standards–will prove to be worth the investment by generating a revenue influx for the Bills and associated economic impact locally, or if a New Era Field renovation is a more financially viable option. For now, how long-term stadium plans for the Bills take shape remains to be seen, as the results of the study will be key to any future discussions.

New Era Field is currently the sixth-oldest stadium in the NFL, but is slated to move up the list after this season. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum–the NFL’s oldest venue–will lose the Rams as a tenant when a new Inglewood stadium opens in 2020. Also set for a replacement is Oakland’s RingCentral Coliseum, the NFL’s fourth-oldest facility, which is expected to lose the Raiders to Las Vegas after this season.

Image courtesy Buffalo Bills.

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