In an effort to further cultivate the Buffalo Bills' market in Ontario, Canada, the New Stadium Working Group formed of state, county and team appointees is considering potential venue locations in Niagara Falls, reports John Wawrow of The Associated Press. The stadium group is considering a myriad of other options, as well, including a full renovation of Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park and other sites in Buffalo and around Western New York.
"We're looking at Niagara County," New York State Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy told Wawrow this week. "We're open to looking at a number of venues."
The biggest obstacle to this move (or a move to Batavia, a location halfway between Buffalo and Rochester) would be the shift from its current county residence. Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz and his team make up one-third of the committee and have a strong interest in keeping the team in Erie County. It's also unclear how much Niagara County or other proposed counties would be willing to put into a new stadium.
Another problem presented by a move to Niagara Falls would be traffic. To get to Niagara Falls, most Buffalonians and Western New Yorkers in general would be required to head over the Grand Island bridge, a tricky bottleneck on the highway with only surface roads as an alternative. Sites in Orchard Park, downtown Buffalo, and virtually anywhere else wouldn't have this hurdle to clear.
The University at Buffalo is also mentioned in the AP report as a venue being discussed. The University is a state school, and with "New York" being featured more prominently by the school, it stands to reason that the state would love more exposure for the campus.
"Another idea is having the Bills relocate their headquarters to the University at Buffalo campus in the Erie County town of Amherst, where a new practice facility would be built and shared with the school's football team," writes Wawrow. "That proposal would satisfy a long-term need for a Mid-American Conference program seeking to broaden its profile."
There is enough infrastructure in place near the current University at Buffalo stadium to make a move there more feasible than Niagara Falls, and there is room to expand around the facility without many residential neighborhoods being affected.
With news on potential owners flying fast and furious and more information coming on the stadium front, it certainly doesn't appear that the business of the team is going to slow down any time soon.