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Buffalo Bills prepared to move forward on stadium conversations with New York State, Erie County

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills have completed their feasibility study and conversations with fans and team officials, and are prepared to move forward into negotiations with New York State and Erie County, according to John Wawrow of the Associated Press. Every option seemingly comes with a hefty price tag.

The feasibility study has been ongoing since November of 2018 and was recently revised to include the economic hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic, reports Wawrow. During the study, the team met with fans to ask about a multitude of different options for the team’s stadium, including how much fans would be willing to pay for things like parking and tickets and whether they would prefer a downtown stadium or the current location.

A new stadium would cost roughly $1 billion according to estimates but continuously renovating the team’s current stadium could prove extremely costly, as well.

“A stadium site selection study conducted by AECOM Technical Services in 2014 projected it would cost $540 million for the next series of renovations, including structural improvements and rebuilding the stadium’s third deck,” writes Wawrow.

The Bills announced a new naming rights deal on Tuesday, something Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has mentioned in the past as an important component of the stadium negotiations. The deal lowers the economic burden placed on owners Kim and Terry Pegula, who paid $1.2 billion for the team in 2014. NFL owners recently signed a huge new television deal and approved a 17-game regular season, so they’re making money off the team.

The current lease runs through 2023, so even a quick negotiation would likely mean some sort of extension to the lease at the newly renamed Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Stadium.

Click on the links below in our StoryStream, as we’ve been covering the stadium lease and potential new stadium for more than a decade now.