BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — About a month after finalizing a non-binding agreement to build a new stadium in Orchard Park, executives for the Buffalo Bills and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz met with county lawmakers Thursday to break down the deal.
The Erie County Legislature could vote to approve the Memorandum of Understanding as soon as their May 12th meeting. State lawmakers have already approved their $600 million share of the $1.4 billion construction cost. Under the agreement, the county would contribute $250 million.
“The memorandum sets out the major terms,” Poloncarz explained to lawmakers. “We still have to enter into a lease, a construction agreement, a community benefits agreement, and other agreements related to this.”
The sides have until September 1 to finalize the deal before the Bills are able to engage in relocation discussions. Their current lease to play at Highmark Stadium expires after the upcoming season. However, Bills Executive Vice President Ron Raccuia assured the lawmakers that their focus throughout this process was to get a deal done in Western New York.
“Our sole focus was to get the deal done that we got done,” explained Raccuia after the meeting. “We’re in the phases of getting that accomplished.”
The new stadium will be built across from the current one. It will have between 60,000 and 62,000 fixed seats.
“We will have flex seats. That adds another 2,000 to 5,000 seats,” said Raccuia. “When you start looking at that, it really is not much smaller than the total capacity of the existing stadium, which very rarely we ever get to.”
Raccuia explained to reporters when the flex seating is taken into account, capacity on gamedays could be around 65,000 or 66,000.
The team is still in the process of finalizing its structure for personal seat licenses. Those are licenses to buy season tickets. Raccuia told the lawmakers he believes they will end up being the lowest PSL prices in the NFL.
“I think they’re going to start somewhere around a thousand dollars or less,” he later told reporters. “They won’t have the high mobility that other teams have.”
Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.