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Cole Beasley threatening retirement over the league’s COVID-19 protocols isn’t the only news funneling out of the Buffalo Bills organization as summer begins to heat up. It feels like every season, or almost that frequently, there’s one or two NFL teams lobbying to build a new stadium. And while many have been successful in landing one — e.g., the Cowboys doing so in the Dallas area while others like the Raiders, Chargers and Rams having packed up and headed out of town to acquire theirs — the Bills have stayed put at Highmark Stadium for quite some time now, albeit with a few different names.
To be more specific, they’ve played there since 1973, but that could soon be changing. The organization is reportedly planning to construct a new stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., per RochesterFirst.com — who notes downtown Buffalo was in strong consideration before losing out to a more cost-effective plan to remain in Orchard Park.
The lease at Highmark Stadium is currently through the 2023 season, but it’s believed it would take three to five years to complete the new facility, meaning it’s almost decision time for the Bills. They do have the option of renewing their current lease beyond 2023 to buy time for the new stadium to be constructed, but they could also wave off that option and explore others — potentially in Toronto or at Penn State. The new stadium is expected to be open-air but with partial covering for fans and has a target opening date of 2025 or later, but funding and approvals in several jurisdictions would be required before any ground can be broken on the project, RochesterFirst.com reports.
And speaking of the Cowboys, or rather Jerry Jones, the Bills have hired Legends Hospitality Group to sell sponsorships and premium seats with Legends Global Planning having been brought on as an owner’s consultant. Legends is co-owned by both Jones and Yankee Global Enterprises, and has been integral in getting other stadiums (like AT&T Stadium and SoFi Stadium) up and running.
Time will tell if Beasley — who, ironically, spent several seasons playing for Jones and threatened retirement during rookie training camp in 2012 — will still be around when/if the Bills eventually cut the ribbon on their new digs.