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University at Buffalo wants to be part of Bills Stadium process, but not in Orchard Park

The New York State University at Buffalo is interested in coming to the table as a joint partner on a potential new Buffalo Bills stadium, but not at the current location in Orchard Park and not if they build a new downtown stadium. To their credit, the Pegulas have invited UB to the discussions, as well, but it doesn’t seem likely reports The Athletic.

“We would love to have UB football be a part of this,” PSE executive vice president Ron Raccuia said.

Three sites were considered for a new Bills stadium; adjacent to the current Bills stadium, downtown, and at the University at Buffalo campus. But the Amherst location near UB seems to be lagging as a distant third with Orchard Park being the leader in the clubhouse to continue as the home of the Bills. Governor Andrew Cuomo never advanced plans for a joint facility between the UB Bulls and the Buffalo Bills. The land for the stadium currently has student housing and administrative buildings.

UB’s football stadium is not very good for a Football Bowl Division team, with a poor scoreboard and amenities. But according to athletic director Mark Alnutt, the university wants to play games on campus. At his last stop in Memphis, it was difficult to get attendance at an off-campus venue. It is a 25- to 30-minute commute from the Amherst Campus to Highmark Stadium.

“Being able to have student engagement on campus is critical for us,” Alnutt told Tim Graham. “When alumni come back to campus, when our students want to attend the games, we want our community to have that connection. That’s very important.”

The UB option would be about the same expense as the Orchard Park option. The land is purchased and the infrastructure is in place at both facilities for a roughly $1.5 billion price tag. Downtown with its lack on infrastructure and purchased land could cost a billion dollars more.

“There’s definitely plans in place [for the future at UB’s existing stadium], but I’m not ruling out any kind of partnership with the Bills, either. I still want to know more about the potential of what a new Bills stadium looks like,” said Alnutt.

With the timeline rapidly proceeding, they might be running out of time for any conversation anyway.