The idea of a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills is something Western New Yorkers have heard about for years.
Now, Pegula Sports and Entertainment has hired CAA Icon to figure out the next steps for a stadium--new or the current stadium. They are also looking into potential renovations for KeyBank Center.
“The number one priority for this study is the fan experience,” said PSE President & CEO Kim Pegula.
The firm, hired by Pegula Sports and Entertainment, is doing a privately-funded study to "help identify the best options for ownership, fans and the community."
CAA Icon will help figure out needed improvements to "all aspects of the fan and team experience," either at a new stadium for the Bills or at New Era Field.
This new study will identify new sites for a potential stadium, along with designs and financial planning for the site.
The organization will also look at "modernizing" KeyBank Center.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz issued the following statement in response:
"Today’s announcement by Pegula Sports and Entertainment (PSE) regarding its retention of CAA Icon to review the conditions of New Era Field and Key Bank Center, interview season ticket holders on their desires, and offer suggestions for future improvements was expected by the county. Every year senior leadership of the county and the Bills/Sabres meet multiple times to discuss the condition of the football stadium and hockey arena, both owned by the county. At one such meeting earlier this year attended by Kim Pegula and myself representatives of PSE indicated they would be retaining a consultant to perform such analysis.
The retention of a consultant to perform such an analysis was not just expected, but is in fact past practice for the Bills organization. This is exactly what was done by the Bills organization under former owner Ralph Wilson. Jr. prior to the last round of lease negotiations in 2012-2013. Just as the county performs its own independent analysis of the stadium and arena’s conditions, so do the owners of the teams that play at each facility.
Nothing announced today should indicate any particular action, such as building a new stadium or hockey arena, will in fact occur. Any final decision will ultimately be made by the Pegulas through PSE, the county and New York State after future negotiations. I look forward to continuing to serve in the role as chief negotiator for the county during these discussions, and in the meantime the county will continue to fulfill its commitments to improve the football stadium pursuant to the 2013 lease agreement."
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown had the following comment:
“I’m pleased Pegula Sports & Entertainment has hired a consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study of New Era Field and KeyBank Center. The City of Buffalo has enjoyed a good public private partnership with Pegula Sports & Entertainment. My Administration has worked closely with Pegula Sports & Entertainment and they have been a significant contributor to the economic development momentum and investment interest we are seeing in the City of Buffalo. The fact that they are looking at the potential of additional major investments in our City is extremely good news.”