It has been a long time coming that discussions have been aired regarding the state in which New Era currently is in. This discussion is still not settled, and the course of the conversations seems to be heading to a relocation of the Buffalo Bills. Nothing is final yet, but let’s explore the current situation.
Relocation on NFL Scene
Since stadiums do age over time and lease agreements expire after a certain period, it does, unfortunately, happen sometimes in NFL that teams need to relocate to the stadium which is better suited and set on NFL level. During the recent past, this was precisely what happened to the Chargers, Rams and Raiders. The question on all Buffalo Bills fans lips are whether the Bills are next in line?
New Era Field has been around for a couple of decades. The Bills are currently one of the League’s teams which are playing in the oldest stadiums except for the Bears, Packers, Raiders, Rams and Chiefs, with the Rams and Raiders moving on soon. 2012 did bring some significant renovation work to New Era, totalling at $130 million, but that is considered to be minor compared to renovations done to other stadiums. In the past couple of years, Kansas City saw work done to the value of $375 million and Chicago totalled a bill of $632 million to maintain their territory.
In Need of a Cash Injection
The Bills need a massive cash injection to be able to bring the same kind of renovations to the table. At this stage, it doesn’t seem like a likely option, and the better answer to their stadium concerns would be to relocate entirely to a new stadium. Currently Bills fans are hoping for a cash injection from the current owners, the Pegula family. The Pegulas have shown their loyalty and support to the Bills for many years and have always been seen as the perfect new owners after Ralph Wilson passed away. Pegula isn’t indicating at all with any certainty whether he will be willing to settle the bill for much-needed renovations. This situation has now been hanging for a couple of months without any clarity.
Keeping the Bills at Home
Erie County has been setting money aside to save up for a new stadium, but their savings are only totalling at $500 000 yet. The cost of building a new stadium vastly exceeds that. When the Lucas Oil Stadium for the Colts opened up in 2008, the bill already tallied then just below $1 billion. What will probably much instead happen is that another city jumps in with an offer of a stadium. Much like when the Raiders were offered $750 million from Las Vegas to foot the bill of a new stadium when Oakland was slow on proceeding on this. The most likely competitor to provide the Bills a stadium and then relocation is probably Toronto.
Time is running out, and decisions will have to be made soon regarding the future of the Buffalo Bills.