ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Pegula Sports and Entertainment presented government officials Tuesday with its revised stadium study, which set out in 2018 to determine “the next steps for the Buffalo Bills stadium needs and for potential renovations of KeyBank Center.”
PSE said the meeting at Highmark Stadium included officials from both New York state and Erie County. A spokesperson for Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz declined to comment on the meeting.
“The objective of the meeting was to outline a plan based on the independent study the organization conducted with regard to future stadium and arena projects in Western New York,” PSE said in a statement.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz spoke about the stadium study last month and cautioned that “We are just starting the process that will probably take some time.”
The Bills’ lease with Erie County runs through July 2023. The Orchard Park facility now known as Highmark Stadium was originally opened in 1973 and is among the oldest stadiums in the league, though it has received $130 million in renovations over the past decade. Additionally, owners Terry and Kim Pegula financed an $18 million overhaul of the team’s practice facility and weight room in 2018.
PSE Executive Vice President Ron Raccuia said in March that PSE’s study was revised over the last 12-18 months “because of COVID, because of some changing economics throughout the country and the league.”
Poloncarz, who has previously thrown his support behind continuing to renovate Highmark Stadium rather than building a new facility, said last month that stadium talks could be viewed as ahead of schedule.
“The lease expires in 2023. It’s 2021,” Poloncarz said. “So, we’re pretty much on the same timeline as I was when the lease expired in 2013 and we picked up negotiations in 2012 — so, actually, we’re ahead of where we were a few years ago. These are not discussions that are going to be resolved overnight. For those who think a decision has been made already, no decision has been made. When we reach an agreement, we’ll announce that to the public, but I do anticipate it’s going to take some time to get to that point.
PSE said Scott Zolke of the Loeb and Loeb law firm and PSE Executive VP Rob Raccuia will lead this project on their end going forward.
Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.