Snow started before the game and slowly filled the field as the Bills took on the Cincinnati Bengals at home in Orchard Park on Jan. 22.

Wide Snow Highmark Stadium

Bills break ground on $1.54B stadium

The Buffalo Bills broke ground on their new $1.54 billion stadium Monday, with NFL, state and local dignitaries on hand to mark the occasion.

It was an emotional day in the suburb of Orchard Park, where the Bills have played since 1973. Among the crowd to watch the first shovels turned were Mary Wilson, the widow of Bills founder Ralph Wilson.

The team and public officials agreed on a public-private financing plan to keep the Bills in a modern stadium in Orchard Park, across the street from the location of the original Rich Stadium, now called Highmark Stadium. The Bills announced Monday that Highmark, a Western New York insurance firm, will be the name sponsor of the new stadium when it opens in 2026.

The stadium financing includes $600 million from the state and $250 million in county funds, with the rest coming from the team.

Bills co-owner Terry Pegula told the crowd that it’s time to add to the storied history of the team with the new stadium.

“So let me get this straight,” he said. “We’re going to build a stadium here, right? And we’re going to tear down a stadium over there that’s full of memories. So, we need to fill this stadium with more memories, and continue our legacy.

“We should remember the past, but embrace the building of our future.”

Pegula teared up as he paid tribute to those who weren’t there for the next step in Bills history — his wife and co-owner Kim, who is battling health issues, and the 10 victims of last year’s mass shooting at a Buffalo grocery store.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who was born about an hour south in Jamestown, N.Y., was among the dignitaries to grab a shovel. Of the 20 or so groundbreaking ceremonies he has attended, this one holds a special place for him, he said.

“None of them are more meaningful than being here today. This is an extraordinary community, they deserve an extraordinary stadium, and you’re going to get it. … Western New Yorkers have always shown that passion for football, for the Bills,” he said.

“The Bills are now secured in Western New York. And that’s something that we should all take great pride in.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 20, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula walk on the field prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Bills announce agreement with N.Y. on new $1.4B stadium

The Buffalo Bills on Monday announced a 30-year agreement with New York state and Erie County to build a $1.4 billion stadium in Orchard Park.

The new open-air stadium will seat 62,000 with a goal to be completed in 2026.

Per terms of the deal, the state will pay $600 million, the Bills and the NFL will pony up $550 million while the county chips in $250 million. The Bills have agreed to a 30-year lease.

“We took another step today to solidify our collective goal of constructing a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park,” Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula said in a statement. “While there are more hurdles to clear before getting to the finish line, we feel our public-private partnership … will get us there.”

NFL owners unanimously passed the proposal. Next up is a state vote Thursday.

Highmark Stadium, home of the Bills, is the fourth-oldest in the league. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell previously said renovations at the approximately 71,000-seat stadium would not be sufficient. The Bills have been in Buffalo for their entire history and in the Orchard Park stadium since 1973.

–Field Level Media

Jan 16, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; General view of Bills Stadium prior to an AFC Divisional Round game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bills pursuing new stadium in Orchard Park

The Buffalo Bills are laying the groundwork to build a new stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., WROC-TV of Rochester reported Saturday.

The team investigated a move to downtown Buffalo but has decided to stay in Orchard Park, its home since 1973. Their lease at Highmark Stadium runs out after the 2023 season.

The venue, previously called Rich Stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium, New Era Field and Bills Stadium, is the fourth-oldest in the National Football League, after Soldier Field in Chicago, Lambeau Field in Green Bay and Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

Plans call for a new stadium to be open to the harsh Buffalo elements, with a partial covering for stands.

Per the report, the project still needs to secure funding and government approvals before construction can begin. The timeline could be as long as five years for a new stadium.

Should the project proceed, the Bills would need to extend the lease at Highmark Stadium or find a temporary home, with Toronto and Penn State University both possibilities, the station said.

Toronto is about a two-hour drive from Buffalo; Penn State four.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said during Super Bowl week in 2020 that the Bills need a stadium similar to those of other NFL teams.

“I think everyone’s committed to that,” he said, “whether it’s a new significant renovation or whether it’s a completely new facility in a new location.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 13, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; General view of Bills Stadium prior to the game between the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bills planning new outdoor stadium in Orchard Park

The Buffalo Bills are planning to build a new outdoor stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., WROC TV reported Friday.

The open-air facility would include partial covering for seating areas and would require 3-5 years to finish, opening as soon as 2025 but more likely in 2026 or 2027.

The report said downtown Buffalo was given strong consideration as a building site, but remaining in Orchard Park is more cost effective.

“The team still needs to obtain government approvals in a variety of areas, including funding. All of which could delay the timeline,” read the report.

The Bills have played at their current stadium, now called Highmark Stadium, since 1973. It is the fourth-oldest NFL stadium presently in use behind Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium (opened in 1972), Green Bay’s Lambeau Field (1957) and Chicago’s Soldier Field (1924).

Highmark Stadium has previously been known as Bills Stadium, New Era Field, Ralph Wilson Stadium and Rich Stadium.

The Bills’ current lease at Highmark Stadium expires in 2023. To bridge the gap until the opening of a new facility, the team could either extend the lease with Erie County and New York or potentially play home games in Toronto or at Penn State University in State College, Pa., per the report.

–Field Level Media