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What does Raiders move to Las Vegas mean for Buffalo Bills?

A new Bills stadium coming to downtown Buffalo?

The Oakland Raiders relocation to Las Vegas to play in a brand new stadium shouldn’t scare Buffalo Bills fans thanks to Terry and Kim Pegula, but it should be a reminder as to what’s rapidly becoming more likely on the stadium front in the NFL.

Old stadiums are going by the wayside, while the push for new, larger-than-life football cathedrals has more momentum than ever.

Per Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News, this is what NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman said about the Raiders move to Las Vegas and eventual new stadium in Sin City as they pertain to the Bills future stadium plans:

“This certainly is not intended to send any message, and I don't believe anyone should take any message in it. Buffalo’s fans are legendary and ranked right up there with the greatest fans in the NFL. Ownership there is evaluating their options and those options are very long-term in nature.”

But the NFL doesn’t have to publicly warn any owner of a team with an older stadium.

Those owners just need to look around.

The Raiders relocation and reported $1.9 billion stadium certainly weren’t approved solely to be a warning message to franchises playing in antique homes. This major news will serve as a stark reminder to everyone that the NFL landscape, and the venues in it, are evolving.

Since Roger Goodell became the league’s commissioner in 2006, six stadiums have already opened, and the Falcons Mercedes-Benz stadium opens this season. The Rams and Chargers stadium in Inglewood, California is set to be completed in 2019, and the Raiders new digs will open the following year.

That’s 25 percent of the league in what will be a 15-year period. Also, all of those stadiums have already or will host a Super Bowl, a gift from the league for teams that have built new.

In the 15 years before that, dating back to 1991, 15 other stadiums were opened (three coincided with expansion teams). That means, as it currently stands, by 2020, a whopping 71.8% of the NFL will be playing in stadiums built in the past 30 years.

The Bills lease agreement for New Era Field with Erie County, struck in 2013, is set to expire in 2023, but there is a one-time termination option during the 7th year of the deal, meaning 2019 could be the last year the Bills play in their current stadium. The fee to activate that termination option is $28.3 million.

Buffalo’s Cobblestone District, Inner Harbor, and Canalside have experienced immense growth over the past five years entirely due to the Pegula’s investment in the city and its two professional sports teams.

A domed Bills stadium near -- or in — the burgeoning “PegulaLand” is increasingly becoming more of an inevitability than just a logical suggestion.