Photo of downtown Buffalo, New York and Lake Erie. 

Image Credit: Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mark C. Poloncarz, county executive of Erie County, New York, made headlines this week when he revealed that a new Buffalo Bills stadium would cost more than $1B to build. He went on to add that Erie County could not afford to build a new stadium for the team. Buffalo Bills owners Kim and Terry Pegula have also previously stated that they are currently content on the Bills playing their home games at New Era Field (formerly Ralph Wilson Stadium). In the past, there has been speculation that the city would be building a new stadium on the waterfront or as part of a new convention center complex. Those proposals have failed to come to fruition. 

Poloncarz compared the future construction costs of a new Bills stadium to what it currently costs other teams to build new NFL stadiums in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. The Buffalo Bills current lease for New Era Field with Erie County will expire in 2023; the team will have the opportunity to opt out in 2020. The Pegula family have already invested millions of dollars in making much needed upgrades to New Era Field. New Era Field is the sixth oldest stadium in the National Football League and has been home to the Buffalo Bills since 1973.

Over the last two decades, the Buffalo metropolitan area has suffered from a massive population loss. Since 1980, the city has lost more than half of its population. It’s no surprise that the city no longer has the tax base to construct a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. The Pegula Family have made it clear that they don’t have the money to privately finance a new stadium for the team. Only time will tell if the Buffalo Bills remain in Buffalo or relocate to another city. For a few seasons, the team were playing an annual home game at the Rogers Centre in Toronto to test the city’s interest in the National Football League. President Donald Trump even once submitted a bid to purchase the Buffalo Bills.


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