NFL Commissioner Goodell discusses future of Buffalo Bills stadium

Goodell: "I want the Bills to be successful and I want them to continue to be competitive here in Buffalo"

Mike Baggerman
June 03, 2019 - 1:18 pm

New Era Field. April 26, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

BATAVIA, N.Y. (WBEN) - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he's supportive of Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula's efforts in addressing the football stadium in Orchard Park.

"I want the Bills to be successful and I want them to continue to be competitive here in Buffalo," Goodell said Monday while at the Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic.

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Pegula Sports and Entertainment announced last November a private partnership with CAA Icon to study the football stadium and hockey arena. The study will play a key role in determining whether or not the Bills will continue to play at its current stadium or move to a new stadium, possibly in downtown Buffalo.

Goodell said that stadiums are important to the competitiveness of its players but also the fans.

"The fans expect a higher quality stadium than they did 20 years ago," the commissioner said. "More technology and more of the things that will bring them out of their homes and go to a football game."

Whether the team moves is still up for debate. The commissioner said past leases were negotiated with the idea of examining stadium options. The Bills have four years remaining on its current ten-year lease.

"We'll continue to work with the various public officials as well as private officials and see what the right solution is," he said.

Goodell commended the Pegula's commitment to the Buffalo community and said the Bills owners have taken a long-term approach since purchasing the team in 2014.

As for why the NFL doesn't just build a new stadium for the Bills?

“Because it’s not just about the NFL building it," he explained. "It’s a public-private partnership in almost every case.  Of that $13 billion, $11 billion of it was private money.  But there’s also ways for the public to participate and to find ways to solutions.  So, these stadiums are complicated, they’re difficult, and that’s exactly why discussions have to go on between the public sector and the private sector to figure out what’s best for the community.  How do we develop this? How do we do it right?  And we’ve been really successful in doing that around the country."

A New York State-funded study in 2014 projected the next round of renovations at New Era Field would cost $540 million, including structural improvements and rebuilding the stadium's third deck. A new facility would cost almost double, depending on location, whether it features a roof, and how much infrastructure upgrades — expanded roads, access ramps, public transportation — might be necessary.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted in response:

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