Dec 13, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; In this drone image, a general view of Soldier Field with the Chicago skyline before a game between the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans the at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Bears say new suburban stadium would be enclosed

The Chicago Bears confirmed that a new stadium in suburban Arlington Heights would be domed — if it ever gets built.

The team released a statement Tuesday updating the status of its proposed purchase of the former Arlington Park horse racing track.

“We envision a multi-purpose entertainment district anchored by a new, best-in-class enclosed stadium, providing Chicagoland with a new home worthy of hosting global events such as the Super Bowl, College Football Playoffs, and Final Four,” read the statement, in part.

The team cautioned that “much remains to be decided,” including the exploration of alternative stadium sites as well as renovations to Soldier Field.

The Bears signed a purchase agreement last September for the 326-acre property in Arlington Heights, located about 30 miles northwest of Soldier Field.

“We remain under contract to purchase the property, but there are conditions that must be met in order to be in a position to close,” the statement said. “If we do close on the property, it does not guarantee we will develop it.”

Construction of the proposed project would create 48,000 jobs and make a $9.4 billion economic impact on the region, according to the team.

The Bears have planned a community meeting on Thursday in Arlington Heights to discuss their plans.

The team said it will honor the terms of its lease with Soldier Field, which runs through 2033. The Bears have an option to break the lease with the Chicago Park District as soon as 2026 at a penalty of $84 million.

Soldier Field is the NFL’s oldest stadium and has been the Bears’ full-time home since 1971. The facility opened in 1924.

The conditions of the playing surface at Soldier Field were sharply criticized by NFL Players Association president JC Tretter during the preseason. The field had patches of missing grass and big divots following a rock concert.

–Field Level Media

Feb 2, 2022; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Commanders co-owner Dan Snyder speaks as co-owner Tanya Snyder (L) listens during a press conference revealing the Commanders as the new name for the formerly named Washington Football Team at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia tables bill for Commanders stadium funding

The Virginia General Assembly tabled a bill Thursday that would have determined the extent to which the state would help the Washington Commanders build a new stadium.

The bill is not dead, but it won’t be voted on this year.

The franchise purchased 200 acres of land in Prince William County, Va. last month for about $100 million. It is considering options in Maryland and the District of Columbia in addition to Northern Virginia for a new stadium to replace its current home, FedEx Field.

Budget negotiators in the Virginia state legislature agreed to cap Commanders stadium bonds at $350 million, far less than an initial estimate earlier in the spring of $1 billion. The Washington Post later reported that the number may fall below $300 million.

Per ESPN, Democratic state senator Chap Petersen said a “panoply of reasons” factored into the vote being tabled.

“For some people there are some systemic issues,” Petersen said. “I don’t believe the team has the type of community backing I would expect from a major pro sports franchise and then all the issues with the owner (Dan Snyder).”

Snyder and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell received requests to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on June 22 as part of the investigation into “hostile workplace culture.” In addition, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares opened an investigation into allegations regarding the team’s alleged financial malpractices.

The Commanders released a statement saying they support the legislature’s decision.

“Given the complexity of this endeavor, coupled with the remarkable economic development opportunity that we believe our new venue project represents, we support the decision of stakeholders in the House of Delegates and the State Senate to more deeply examine this issue,” the statement said in part.

–Field Level Media

Feb 2, 2022; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Commanders co-owner Dan Snyder speaks as co-owner Tanya Snyder (L) listens during a press conference revealing the Commanders as the new name for the formerly named Washington Football Team at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Commanders buy land in Virginia for possible stadium site

The Washington Commanders purchased 200 acres of land in Prince William County, Va., for about $100 million, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

The franchise is in the process of weighing its options for a new stadium to replace FedEx Field in Landover, Md. The team has considered potential sites in Northern Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, but ESPN reported that Virginia was its preferred site for now.

NBC Sports Washington reported that the land is Woodbridge, Va., situated just off Interstate 95.

The team moved out of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and into FedEx Field in 1997. FedEx Field has been widely panned as one of the least enjoyable stadiums in the NFL, and the Commanders’ contract to play there expires in 2026.

The Commanders’ team headquarters are in Ashburn, Va., and they hold their training camp in the state capital of Richmond.

Budget negotiators in the Virginia state legislature have agreed to cap Commanders stadium bonds at $350 million, far less than an initial estimate earlier in the spring of $1 billion.

Also potentially complicating matters: Virginia attorney general Jason Miyares launched an investigation into the team’s business practices last month in response to evidence that may show owner Daniel Snyder engaged in financial improprieties while running the team.

The House Oversight & Reform Committee told the Federal Trade Commission in a letter last month that it had obtained evidence that Snyder “may have engaged in a troubling, long-running, and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct” that took advantage of the team’s fans.

–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 22, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; A general overall aerial view of Nissan Stadium exterior. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Titans, Nashville discussing new stadium

The Tennessee Titans and the city government in Nashville have broached the subject of building a new stadium in town, Axios Nashville reported Thursday.

The Titans initially were looking at extensive renovations for Nissan Stadium, which opened in 1999. While the Tennessean recently reported that those renovations would cost $600 million, a Titans spokesperson told Axios the estimated price tag is closer to $1.2 billion.

The “revised cost estimates require us to closely review whether a new stadium would be a better long-term financial decision,” Nashville mayor John Cooper told Axios in a statement. “We won’t settle for anything but the best-case scenario for Nashville.”

The Titans have played in the state since rebranding from the Houston Oilers and relocating in 1997. They played one season at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis and one more at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville while construction on Nissan Stadium was completed.

The Major League Soccer franchise Nashville SC also played its first two seasons in Nissan Stadium, but it will move to a soccer-specific venue called Nashville Fairgrounds Stadium during the 2022 season.

–Field Level Media

Aug 28, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; A Buffalo Bills fan holds up a sign for quarterback Josh Allen (not pictured) and wide receiver Stefon Diggs (not pictured) prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Bills submit paperwork for new stadium by 2027

The stadium proposal to give the Buffalo Bills a new home in Orchard Park, N.Y., calls for completion by 2027, according to multiple reports on Tuesday.

Bills ownership, headed by Terry and Kim Pegula, have submitted plans for a $1.4 billion, 60,000-seat stadium to state and Erie County.

The number of seats is about 12,000 fewer than Highmark Stadium, the stadium in Orchard Park that has been home to the Bills since 1973.

According to reports, Pegula Sports and Entertainment is seeking public money to cover the majority of costs.

The Bills’ lease at Highmark Stadium expires in July of 2023. The Pegula group has expressed that it won’t negotiate a lease extension on Highmark Stadium until a new stadium deal is in place.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently said the Bills need a new stadium funded by a public/private partnership.

“You’ve got to think long-term here,” Goodell told the media at Bills legend Jim Kelly’s celebrity golf tournament on Aug. 23 in Buffalo. “This has been going on for decades, and it’s time to get a new stadium done that we can make sure the Bills are here and successful for many, many decades going forward.”

The proposed site for a new stadium in Orchard Park is close to Highmark Stadium, which has gone by a variety of names over the years, including Rich Stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium and New Era Field.

The Bills, behind star quarterback Josh Allen, open the upcoming season at home on Sept. 12 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

–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

Nov 29, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; A general view of SoFi Stadium exterior during the NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Rams, Chargers discuss stadium alternatives with NFL

The Rams and Chargers are discussing their stadium options for the rest of the season should they be forced out of the Los Angeles area because of COVID-19 restrictions, Yahoo Sports reported Friday.

Last week, Santa Clara County banned pro and college teams from practicing or playing games, forcing the San Francisco 49ers to play their home games in Arizona. Now, with COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in Southern California, the Rams and Chargers need a backup to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

The home stadiums of the Las Vegas Raiders and Dallas Cowboys have been mentioned as potential home sites for the two Los Angeles teams.

A regional stay-at-home order could take effect in Southern California as soon as next week, depending on availability of intensive-care unit beds. If that happens, all non-essential travel will be banned.

Los Angeles County broke a record on Thursday for daily coronavirus cases with 7,713.

“The bottom line is if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday in a news conference. “If we don’t act now, we’ll continue to see our death rate climb (and have) more lives lost.”

SoFi Stadium opened this season and has yet to host fans. The teams have a combined six games left on their home schedules.

The Rams (7-4) are scheduled to host the New England Patriots (Dec. 10), New York Jets (Dec. 20) and Arizona Cardinals (Jan. 3). The Chargers (3-8) close with the Patriots (Dec. 6), Atlanta Falcons (Dec. 13) and Denver Broncos (Dec. 27).

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; The Atlanta Falcons logo is shown in an end zone before the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons to use drones to clean stadium after games

The Atlanta Falcons will employ drones to clean Mercedes-Benz Stadium after games, starting with the team’s Oct. 11 date with the Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers game will be the first with a limited amount of fans welcomed back to the stadium amid the coronavirus pandemic.

AMB Sports and Entertainment is partnering with a North Carolina-based Lucid Drone Technologies, which offers D1 disinfecting drones. Two drones will be used to clean the stadium with a third on stand-by as a backup.

“The process of welcoming fans back involves actively listening and responding to their concerns and we understand that proper cleaning and sanitization protocols are top of mind in the current environment,” AMB COO Dietmar Exler said in a release. “We have worked tirelessly to provide a safe environment for not only our associates, players and staff, but especially our fans.”

According to the release, the drones use electrostatic spraying nozzles to distribute medical-grade disinfecting chemicals — including an inhibitor that prevents harmful bacteria and viruses from adhering to surfaces without leaving a residue.

The drones will be used for post-event disinfecting of the seating bowl, handrails and glass partitions at the stadium, per the release. The drones will reduce the amount of time it takes to clean the stadium by 95 percent.

–Field Level Media