Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that his administration has appointed its first five members of the New Stadium Working Group that is responsible for exploring new a Bills stadium.
“The purpose of the group is to explore options for development and construction of a new stadium in Western New York to serve as a home for the Bills, a catalyst for economic growth and a premier sports and entertainment venue for the region,” stated the letter from Howard B. Glaser, director of state operations and senior policy adviser to the governor, via The Buffalo News.
Glaser is hoping to setup a meeting “within the next two weeks” to start the process.
The Bills signed a 10-year lease in December of 2012 that will likely ensure that the team will continue to call Ralph Wilson Stadium home for the foreseeable future. However, the agreement includes a one-time exception following the seventh year that would reduce the relocation penalty from $400 million to $28.4 million.
The team has said that they have no intentions of leaving Buffalo, but they already a play a few home games in Toronto and have been mentioned as a possible option to relocate at some point.
The state of New York and the county have already agreed to pay $54 million and $41 million, respectively, for renovations Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills, meanwhile, will contribute $35 million towards the renovation plan that will included new video display boards, a new team store, improved gate entrance and concession areas and other technological enhancements.
However, some have estimated that the stadium needs as much as $500 million in total renovations, so I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about negotiations between the local government and the team in the coming years.