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New Bills stadium: $1.4 billion, 60,000 seats

Ralph Wilson Stadium

A proposed new Buffalo Bills stadium in Orchard Park would cost $1.4 billion, seat 60,000 and feature 60 suites, under a plan presented to state and county officials.

AP was first to report the specifics of the deal, though various other outlets have run stories about the proposals in prior weeks.

The proposed facility would not featured a covered roof, but the design would shield fans somewhat from the elements. Highmark Stadium, the team’s current home, seats around 72,000. The new stadium would be built in a parking lot next to Highmark Stadium, which would eventually be torn down. Highmark Stadium opened in 1973 and has been upgraded several times, but the team and local officials decided the facility is at the end of its economic life. Improving fan conditions would mean the addition of a third deck and cost $540 million–money that could be better spent on a new facility.

In an ideal scenario, the new stadium would be funded by the state of New York, Erie County and team owners Terry and Kim Pegula, and open for the 2027 NFL season. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo had been supportive of the Bills’ stadium efforts; new governor Kathy Hochul, who hails from Buffalo, has already met with Pegula Sports and Entertainment officials. From AP:

At issue is how quickly a deal can be approved, and how the construction costs would be split between the team and taxpayers. The Bills have already said team owners Terry and Kim Pegula are committed to sharing part of the cost, but have not identified how much.

The expectation is the state and county will be asked to cover more than 50% of the project, raising concerns about the potential for taxpayer funding.

PSE’s proposal is considered preliminary and subject to change based on discussions, with no renderings of the proposed facility having yet been submitted. Talks have been slowed in part because of New York’s change in governor, with Kathy Hochul taking over last week following Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.

RELATED STORIES: Pegula Sports pitch $1.5 billion Bills stadium proposal; Buffalo Bills Will Not Opt Out of New Era Field Lease Early;  Best of 2019, #4: Buffalo Bills Study Stadium OptionsPSE Official: Buffalo Bills Stadium Study About Halfway CompletePegula: Buffalo Bills Stadium Plans Will Keep Fans’ Interests in Mind; The Challenges of the Buffalo Bills Stadium SituationRoger Goodell Offers Support for New Buffalo Bills StadiumPegula: Potential New Bills Stadium Would be “Scaled-Down” Take on Other FacilitiesBuffalo Bills Stadium Focus Groups Part of StudyFans Surveyed on Potential Buffalo Bills’ Stadium OptionsStudy to Consider Buffalo Bills’ Stadium OptionsErie County Executive of Estimates New Bills Stadium at At Least $1B

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