Breaking news as Buffalo CBS affiliate WIVB-TV is reporting that the Buffalo Bills may be building a new stadium in Orchard Park, the home of their longtime stadium Highmark Stadium (aka Bills Stadium aka New Era Stadium aka Ralph Wilson Stadium aka Rich Stadium).
According to the report:
A source has confirmed to News 8 that the Bills are planning to build a new stadium in Orchard Park.
The new stadium will be open air, but with partial covering for fans in the stands. The entire project is expected to require 3-5 years start to finish.
You may recall that at one point there were serious talks about the stadium being built in downtown Buffalo but as anyone who has traveled there knows, the parking for a Buffalo Sabres game is insane enough and plopping a stadium downtown would be tricky enough for someone playing SimCity, let alone someone navigating the real world of Buffalo politics.
According to the article, the stadium could be ready by 2025, but more likely 2026 or 2027. The WIVB article noted one particular problem with the potential new stadium, the fact that the Bills lease expires in 2023:
That leaves at least one season, if not more, where the Bills would not contractually have a facility for home games.
There will almost certainly be negotiations with Erie County and New York to extend the lease for the intervening years. However, the team is prepared to consider other options for home games. News 8 has been told that Toronto and Penn State are both possibilities for the Bills should they need a temporary home. It’s still a path the Bills would undoubtedly prefer to avoid.
The idea of an open air stadium is nice for making opposing teams battle the elements when they come to Buffalo, but state and county officials may want to rethink the decision since it will mean less opportunities for concerts and the like.