Buffalo Bills owner Kim Pegula has expressed doubt about being able to build a new stadium, but this isn’t necessarily bad news.
At first glance, this theoretically sounds like a negative to the majority of people. After all, who wouldn’t want a brand new stadium to watch your favorite professional sports team competing in?
However, it’s only when you delve a little deeper, that you realize the latest news regarding the Bills’ stadium situation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Let’s consider some of the comments by Pegula, as reported by Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News:
"“I don’t even know if we can get there. I know fans in Buffalo don’t want higher ticket prices, they don’t want PSLs (personal seat licenses). The state doesn’t want to give you any money, the city doesn’t … We don’t have a billion-and-a-half dollars sitting around. We used it to buy the team.”"
Yes, Pegula admitted it would be extremely difficult to raise the necessary funds to facilitate building a new stadium. But she also referenced the fans, essentially alluding to them not being bothered about moving from New Era Field.
Buffalo Bills fans are a special breed, often described as blue-collar and fiercely loyal. They also live in one of the smallest sporting markets in the NFL.
As Pegula said, the majority of Bills fans don’t have the inclination or funds to be spending more money on watching their beloved team in action. Without doubt, increased prices would be the result of any move to a new stadium.
Now, it should be noted moving from New Era Field isn’t off the table entirely. The ownership group will perform their due diligence and consider all possible options moving forward:
"“We don’t know what the decision is going to be at the end of the day, but if we don’t start the work and get the information, we can’t even get there to make a decision,” Pegula said, again reported by Carucci. “…I know that, at the end of the day, what we want to do is we want to make sure we have all our information, go through the whole planning process so then we can say, ‘Listen, this is what it’s going to require. Either we can get there (or not).’”"
However, given this latest information, you have to wonder why moving to a new stadium is so important? Pure and simple, it comes down to more money for the league.
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Chief among those who believe the Bills do need to move from New Era Field is commissioner Roger Goodell. Understandably, this is not particularly surprising, given he is the mouthpiece for the owners.
Last year, we reported on Goodell’s comments about the Bills’ stadium situation, which came during Jim Kelly‘s annual celebrity golf tournament. He essentially indicated they needed a new building, to keep up with the rest of the league.
However, if this is true, then how come the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers are still playing at stadiums, which date back to 1924 and 1957 respectively? Both franchises are historically much more successful than the Bills, but neither have felt the pressure to move to new buildings.
Instead, the Bears and Packers have renovated their existing stadiums to great success. And really, this is the most likely/realistic course of action for the Bills.
As noted by ESPN’s Mike Rodak, New Era Field underwent $130 million’s worth of renovations in 2014. However, at the time it was seen as just a short-term solution.
As per Carucci, more renovations are coming, albeit at considerably less expense. Earler this year, the NFL approved an $18 million renovation to improve the stadium’s sideline clubs and signage, and will be privately funded.
So, what will the Bills do long-term? Don’t expect a solid answer soon, with Pegula admitting it will take around two years to gather all the necessary info to make an informed decision.
Overall though, we predict the team will remain at New Era Field past their current stadium lease, which is set to expire in 2023. And in truth, the majority of Buffalo Bills fans would be happy to remain in Orchard Park.
What’s your take regarding Pegula’s latest comments about the stadium situation? Do you want the Buffalo Bills to remain at New Era Field or move to a new facility? Or are you not concerned either way? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.