As the Buffalo Bills continue to evaluate their long-term stadium options, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expressing his desire to see team ownership resolve the situation soon.
The Bills currently play at New Era Field, a facility that originally opened in 1973 and is not a suitable long-term NFL home in its current state. To evaluate potential solutions, including either a new stadium or a major New Era Field renovation, Bills ownership Pegula Sports & Entertainment (PSE) commissioned CAA Icon to conduct a study.
When asked about the team’s stadium search during his state of the league address Wednesday, Goodell stated the need for the Bills to come up with a long-term solution sooner rather than later. While his comments seemed to leave the door open for PSE to launch discussions about either a major renovation or a new stadium, Goodell also stressed that he wants to see the situation addressed over the coming months, if not sooner. More from The Buffalo News:
“A stadium that is going to be competitive with other stadiums around the league is going to be important in that context and I think everyone’s committed to that, whether it’s a new significant renovation or whether it’s a completely new facility in a new location,” Goodell said, when asked about the status of the Bills’ stadium situation….
Goodell also emphasized it would take a “collaborative process” between the Bills and “the public sector” to achieve either a renovation or construction of a new stadium.
The Bills’ 10-year lease for New Era Field with New York State and Erie County is due to expire in 2023. The commissioner didn’t offer a specific timetable on when any decision of the direction the team and public entities would go with a stadium would be finalized. However, he did make it clear that he was expecting a resolution in the not-too-distant future.
“I think those are things that the group has to settle collectively and to address over the next several months, if not sooner,” Goodell said.
The Pegulas later issued a statement saying that the CAA Icon study has been completed, and that the organization is working internally to map out its next steps, per The Buffalo News:
“Our privately funded stadium study with CAA ICON is complete and we’re working internally to determine the next steps regarding any future plans for the home of the Buffalo Bills,” the Pegulas’ statement said.
Until PSE announces its next steps, it will be hard to determine exactly whether the Bills pursue a new or renovated stadium. Any facility plan figures to be large in scope, however, regardless of whether it involves a new stadium or a major overhaul to New Era Field. The Bills’ current home will be the NFL’s fourth-oldest stadium as of the 2020 season, and the franchise will have to find a way to address the aging facility’s future.
Image courtesy Buffalo Bills.
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