BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Thursday morning's special work session with the Erie County Legislature featured talks about the new Bills stadium. The meeting had special guests to speak about it, including Ron Raccuia of the Buffalo Bills. He's the Executive Vice President of Pegula Sports and Entertainment.
Raccuia and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, were among leaders answering questions from legislators on the new $1.4 billion future home of the Bills. Poloncarz presented a slideshow with pros and cons of the new stadium, which the state will own, not Erie County.
A few more things in the new stadium deal is being ironed out in what Poloncarz called a "complicated process," but forward progress continues to be made. Raccuia said Orchard Park has been the desired location, and building it in the City of Buffalo would require way more money and time.
"This deal ensured Bills could be sustainable and successful in Western New York," said Raccuia. "We feel we accomplished that thus far."
One part of the new stadium agreement is for the Bills to stay in Erie County over the next 30 years, even if new owners take over the team.
"They would have to keep the team in Buffalo, they couldn't move it just because they wanted to," said Poloncarz.
Here's a breakdown of what we can expect in the new stadium, according to Ruccia:
- Up to 66,000 seats
- 2,500-5,000 flexible seats for other events such as concerts. Ruccia referred to them as "party decks"
- Covered seats
- "Significantly" fewer suites
- About eight different seating option areas, compared to three main levels now
- Season tickets to start around $1000 per ticket, or lower
- "Affordable" tickets
Raccuia said Thursday he believes the Bills will have the lowest PSL (Personal seat license) in the NFL. The PSL is what allows season ticket holders to buy each seat for the season.
Raccuia said tickets will not price out Bills fans. 7 News Reporter Michael Schwartz asked Raccuia about the affordability.
"You do not want to keep some of the best footballs fans in the league out of this new stadium," said Schwartz. Ruaccia responded, "Absolutely. I said this before, this stadium is going to be built for the Buffalo Bills fans, the community and our team. The main function of this stadium is going to be to win football games. So loud, intense, that's our fan base, we need them in the stadium, so we're not going to price them out for that very reason."
- New stadium will have a lot of meeting spaces
- Erie County Sheriff's Office will still be at games
- Field will be a "hybrid" grass, which will be heated
Raccuia said he plans to have sketches of the new stadium "soon," but added it will be similar to the size of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Populous, which built that soccer stadium, will build the Bills' new home.
The stadium is planned to be across from the old one, but Erie County Executive said you won't see construction there in 2022. It will likely start as early as next spring.