With hopes and optimistic timelines thrown around at the end of 2021, it felt inevitable that we would get an announcement on a new Buffalo Bills stadium by mid-January and New York State Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State Address. When none came, people were starting to get worried. Now Governor Hochul is telling fans not to worry.
“It’ll be done by March 31,” Hochul told The Buffalo News this week. “That’s the date for our budget. We’re in conversations with the Bills and they understand the process. They’re not getting anxious.”
With Hochul, a Western New York native, in the governor’s mansion, we’ve been optimistic a deal would get done sooner rather than later with no guarantee she will be elected for a full term. Excitement for the team is at an all-time high, as well, and with an expiring lease in one year, every one of the parties in place now wants to get a deal done before something changes.
New York State’s budget is due April 1 and the NFL owners meet in late March for their yearly meetings. It feels like we will have something in place before those two massive dates on the calendar.
Bills owners Kim & Terry Pegula and their organization, Pegula Sports & Entertainment, had maintained that the end of 2021 was necessary for the stadium to be open before the 2026 regular season. Perhaps putting it off even a few months would mean a 2027 opening. We shall see if enough of the deal is in place right now to move forward with that early planning.
The team’s current stadium in Orchard Park is approaching its 50th birthday. Improving the building would take massive amounts of dollars that could be better spent on a new facility that meets all of the team, state, and county’s needs.