Bills stadium situation is “a big, big nut to crack”

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In the never ending quest for new and better NFL stadiums, the Bills recently have stepped from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box. But they may be fouling off pitches for a while.

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula dismissed the idea that relocation is on the table, but they made it clear that getting a new stadium in Buffalo will not be easy.

It’s a big, big nut to crack,” Kim Pegula said. “It’s going to take some patience on everyone’s part.”

Terry Pegula made it clear that the final solution will have the fans’ interests in mind, which implies strongly there will still be a team for fans to follow.

“Whatever we’re going to do stadium-wise is going to be in the best interest of our fans,” Terry Pegula said. “We have the interest of our fans at heart, and what we do will be heavily weighted — whatever the plan is — toward the benefit of our fans.”

Still, the size of the market makes that even more challenging.

“As far as professional sports teams go, Buffalo’s the biggest little city in the country,” Terry Pegula said. “And our fans need their due as far as whatever we do with venues for them to attend our games.”

The question ultimately becomes whether the biggest little city is still big enough to put together the big pile of cash needed to build a stadium — and whether the biggest little city is still big enough to generate the kind of total revenue that makes it a viable investment. It’s a delicate balance of public money that can be finagled, private money that will be devoted to it (from the team and the league), and the extent to which the ongoing CBA discussions with the union will place an enhanced portion of the financial burden on the players, via the under-the-radar-for-now issue of stadium credits, a concept that will funnel cash that otherwise would be shared by management and labor to the construction and renovation of stadiums.

Regardless, the Pegulas want folks in Buffalo to realize that recent comments from Commissioner Roger Goodell shouldn’t be viewed as ominously as some have.

“Roger knows where we stand,” Kim Pegula said. “We weren’t at all upset or thought that he was trying to say anything differently.”

The Pegulas officially stand in the corner of making it work in Buffalo, with a new stadium. But if that big, big nut ultimately can’t be cracked, the prospect of making it work elsewhere can’t be discounted — especially since the best way to get the most public money possible in one market continues to be not-so-vaguely suggesting that another market may provide a more viable location.

In other words, at the end of the day the Bills may avoid moving only if they can convince local politicians that, if necessary, they will.

27 responses to “Bills stadium situation is “a big, big nut to crack”

  1. I don’t know why they’re making it so difficult.
    It’s simple. A big nut needs a big nut-cracker.

  2. If you want to know why the Bills got no Prime-time games this year? No new stadium yet. And I applaud Pergula for not being bullied into throwing money at a huge building project on Goodell’s cue. These are two successful business people that are taking the right approach who care about the city of Buffalo.

  3. Football stadiums are there to hold people. They don’t play a part as they do in baseball. They’re all basically the same narrow concourses with crappy food for sale (though the Superdome in New Orleans is an extra crappy stadium with some decent Cajun food). They should have kept The Vet in Philly. The only upgrade that the Linc brought was that the top three rows were no longer benches.

  4. At the time the Bills franchise started Buffalo was about the 15th largest city in the country with a population over 500,000.

    Today Buffalo has a population of 250,000 is 50-something in the census rankings, and both of those figures are declining.

    Whatever nostalgia people have for this team, and whatever desire they have to treat the fans right, the reality is that this city is too small to support an NFL team anymore and no one in their right mind would be investing in a new NFL stadium here.

  5. Buffalo fans will continue to support the team as long as they field a good squad, make the game entertaining, and keep prices reasonable. Buffalo’s stadium has a seating capacity larger than most NFL cities and they fill it up pretty well. Go back and check some video of the “snow game” and ask how many cities’ fans would have been there? Buffalo fans don’t need half-acre video screens and $12 hot dogs. Play NFL football with as much heart as you can and the Buffalo fans will be buying tickets.

  6. NY State & Erie county have poured in over a billion dollars in the last 10 years for maintaining & upgrading that stadium, now everyone in the know wants a new one…lol. That would be the NFL giving the back of its hand to the state’s taxpayers. Let the NFL owners build their own stadiums, and maintain for THEIR franchise.

  7. This guy bought the team 5 years ago knowing the size of the market, already owning two other teams in town. He’s also continuously making clear he’s cool being worth 4 BILLION dollars instead of being an ass to the whole community and being worth 5 Billion yet you all are really trying to make a story about this potential relocation thing. Stop it.

  8. The Bills are not going anywhere, its just a matter of remodel or move downtown. Money will not be an issue with the Pegulas.

  9. I still say there is absolutely nothing wrong with the current stadium, New Era Field. It seats 72,000, sells out 90% of the time and has a great location. If the Bills as well as the rest of the NFL wasn’t profitting from it, the Bills would have been forced out years ago!

  10. pkava says:
    June 30, 2019 at 12:48 pm
    If you want to know why the Bills got no Prime-time games this year? No new stadium yet. And I applaud Pergula for not being bullied into throwing money at a huge building project on Goodell’s cue. These are two successful business people that are taking the right approach who care about the city of Buffalo.

    20 15 Rate This


    ummm, your stadium is approaching 50 years old. you are the reason why pegula may pull the rug out from the fans and sell the team.

    you should have been demanding a new stadium built over 10 years ago!

  11. Don’t worry, jills fans. No other city wants to be associated with your pathetic team so they won’t be going anywhere. They’ll just continue losing in the same gravel pit they’ve been humiliating themselves in for the last 60 years. Enjoy.

  12. If the citizens of Buffalo don’t pay a penny… THE PEOPLE win.

    Anything more than a penny is a loss.

  13. Buffalo is 50 th ranked city, 250,000………… people moved pout of the city, but didn’t leave the area. In the area, there are 3.8 million people. We are close to Hamilton, Toronto, Nia Falls,Not, Erie, Binghamton, Utica, Rome, Troy, London, Ont. Amongst others not counted in our areas(WNY) population. The team always is near the top of viewers and attendance. There are no more die hard fans anywhere. Not even close.

  14. The Bills are moving and Pegula had this planned from day one, tiny towns like Buffalo are things of the past.

  15. It was about to happen You know St Louis got bullied San Diego got bullied even Oakland so now that all that is done the NFL with the medias help now has to turn to a new city . Hey Greenbay I am looking at you!You are a small city with an old stadium, oh wait they can’t touch GB oh there’s Buffalo let’s go bully them!. You see this is the plan bull them into a stadium they can’t afford and then when ticket prices double they will the claim the team wasn’t supported and that is why they need to move.

  16. catquick says:
    June 30, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Buffalo is 50th ranked city, 250,000………… people moved pout of the city, but didn’t leave the area. In the area, there are 3.8 million people.
    Actually I was wrong. Buffalo isn’t the 50th largest city. It is actually the 87th largest city.

    If you want to include the entire metro area it is ranked 50th largest in the US. No shame in being a tiny hamlet, but it does make funding and supporting a new stadium very difficult as the Pegula’s have now realized.

  17. I *know* it’s not a popular opinion, but I honestly think to make the franchise more viable with a small market like Buffalo, building a stadium in between Buffalo and Rochester has a lot of appeal. The Batavia area has plenty of land and would make it a lot more appealing to people from Rochester to head to a game. The 1.5 hour drive to Orchard Park is a bit much, especially with the addition of the game day traffic, and I think more people would be willing to attend games if it was a bit more local. And it wouldn’t be much farther for people coming from Canada – just a short trip east instead of south. Again – I know it’s not a popular idea, just one I’d personally enjoy.

  18. carloslassiter…………..It’s more than large enough to host an NFL team. It does, quite well. The team didn’t make the post season for 2 decades but was still the No:1 show in town. People in LA could care less about NFL football. (See LA KINGS: Jammed when in the cup, to see Gretzky, anonymous once Wayne left, no cup). The RAMS were in the SB. When they and the Chargers start to middle, the place will be empty. They already lost the Rams, The Chargers, The Raiders with the largest market in the US. New Orleans market is smaller. Are they leaving? It’s well known your hatred for all things Buffalo. Sorry, but Pegula’s are dug in. The own 2 other sports teams here and half of downtown. It’s all built on sports. You don’t know the area or what you’re talking about…..again. Pegula even said if he wants to make more money, he’ll just go dig some more gas wells. The day after he bought the Sabres for $187 million, he DONATED $188 million to Penn St. for their hockey program. They aren’t going anywhere. BTW, Pegula dumped the Toronto failed experiment. No one would go to see a game there, even to see the oponent. Toronto is never getting an NFL team. Not ever.

  19. Your opinion on this matter continues to lose credibility because you continue to ignore the Pegula’s other investments in the area and how they make it impossible to move the Bills without taking huge financial losses elsewhere. Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bandits, Rochester Americans, Rochester Knighthawks, Harbor Center, multiple properties in downtown Buffalo will all need to be liquidated if they move the Bills. Buffalo won’t support a Pegula owned anything if they move the Bills.

  20. People these days think NEW equals better. That’s why you all keep spending money you don’t have and bury yourselves in debt. New Era Field is a fantastic place to watch the Bills play. You can spend to do some upgrades, but we DON’T need a new billion dollar stadium.

  21. There is a very simple solution, Pay for it out of your own pocket, like EVER AFC East team has done.
    Dolphins-financed with leased club levels in 1985, remodeled and paid for by the owner(s)
    Jets-paid for it out of there own pocket (shared cost with Giants-Smart)
    Pats-paid for it out of there own pocket (after screwing Connecticut, which was building it for free in downtown Hartford for them)-Since added too/remolded–owner money.
    Bills—Billionaire owners who cannot afford to do it?

  22. People who think this team is moving were born with a lack of oxygen. Tell me why somebody would buy a hockey team, build a $200 million dollar multipurpose building in downtown Buffalo, and than buy the football team with the intention of moving it? Nobody.

    Also to all the people saying Buffalo is a small city of 250,000…that’s downtown…Buffalo has a metro area of a million people. And Rochester isn’t too far, and they have a metro area of a million people.

    It’s a “big nut to crack” because they can’t build a new one downtown right away, since that would require a complete infrastructure overhaul, which could take a very long time. And you can’t just rip it out of the suburbs, because that’s what created the tailgate atmosphere.

    Terry is 68 and his wife is 50. Unless they pry the franchise, literally from his cold dead hands in 20 or 30 years, the Bills won’t be moving.

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