New 60,000 capacity stadium set to keep NFL franchise in Buffalo.
The National Football League’s (NFL) Buffalo Bills are planning to build a new US$1.4 billion stadium at Orchard Park in Buffalo.
The 60,000 capacity stadium could be completed before the start of the 2027 season, pending approval from New York State and Erie County, the report says.
If plans for a new stadium in upstate New York were to fall through, the franchise has reportedly considered relocating. According to the AP, while the proposed stadium will not have a roof, it will provide some protection for fans from the elements and have around 60 luxury suites.
The Bills’ current home, Highmark Stadium, has around 12,000 more seats than the proposed new venue. The lease at Highmark Stadium, where the team has played since 1973, is set to expire in 2023. The AP reports that the Bills will extend this lease until the new facility is opened, if it is given the green light for a new stadium.
After considering alternative venues, including at the University of Buffalo’s campus, it appears that the Pegula Sports and Entertainment group, which owns the franchise, opted to build a new stadium at Orchard Park, the same site as Highmark Stadium.
The proposal would see construction costs reportedly split 50-50 between the NFL franchise and taxpayers. Highmark Stadium’s US$22 million cost was fully funded by taxpayers’ money. Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders which opened in 2020, cost a reported US$1.9 billion, with the Arizona state public funding US$750 million of the state-of-the-art venue. Similarly, the Minnesota Vikings’ US$1.1 billion US Bank stadium, which opened in 2016, saw taxpayers pay 42.5 per cent of the cost.