ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Negotiations are heating up for the next Highmark Stadium lease. And as the Buffalo News is reporting, things appear to be off to a rocky start.
The News writes that the Pegulas want to build a new stadium with a price tag of $1.1 billion. As of right now, the team owners want taxpayers in Erie County and beyond to foot 100% of the bill.
Officials in Albany call this a non-starter. But, The Buffalo News is also reporting that while the Bills have not made open threats to leave Buffalo if the full funding request is denied — the team told negotiators that there are other cities that would want an NFL franchise and be willing to pay for it.
A senior writer at ESPN says Austin, Texas has been floated as a possibility. Again, we want to stress, the negotiations are in the early stages.
Two years ago, News 4’s Chris Horvatits sat down with the Erie County executive about his book “Beyond the Xs and Os: Keeping the Bills in Buffalo,” which detailed the 2012 stadium lease negotiations.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz talked about the compromises that needed to be made.
“You never get exactly what you want, the Bills didn’t get exactly what they wanted. At one point they wanted another game in Toronto. They wanted to be able to leave at any time during the lease. We were not going to allow that. We didn’t get everything we wanted either,” Poloncarz said in 2019.
In a statement to News 4, a spokesman for Poloncarz said the county would not have anything to say about stadium talks until a deal is made.
News 4 also reached out to Pegula Sports and Entertainment, and we have not heard back.