PHOENIX, AZ (WKBW) — Speaking at the NFL Owners meetings in Phoenix, AZ, Kim Pegula told reporters that the study into the future of the Bills' and Sabres' stadium and arena, respectively, is still in its early stages, but the company tasked with conducting the research has warned her to keep her eyes and mind wide open.
On Tuesday night, the co-owner and president of the Bills and Sabres said CAA Icon told her the potential stadium project could be a "game changer for Western New York" and "one of the biggest impactful projects to come in 50 years."
She estimated that more than 30,000 fans completed surveys about the stadium and arena, and what they want the fan experience to look like. But she stressed that there will likely be more surveys and studies ahead before any final decision is made.
As for how far away a potential decision could be, even though the end of the lease with New Era Field is coming around after the 2022 season, there isn't even a soft timeline at this point in time. Instead, Kim Pegula just pointed back to waiting until the results of the survey came in.
However, the question over whether to build a new stadium closer to downtown Buffalo, or renovate the existing stadium in Orchard Park, has been raised for years as fans and the National Football League grow tired with the aging New Era Field.
"I think the answer is probably a scaled down version of some of these palaces built in other parts of the country," Bills and Sabres' co-owner Terry Pegula said -- if they ultimately decided on building a new facility.
He referenced the stadiums in Los Angeles and Dallas, but stressed that they are determined to wait until the study comes out in the summer to make any further decisions.
"We need to do something that's Buffalo style," Terry Pegula said.
When asked about a potential closed-air stadium, he said "let's see what the study says."
Even when the Pegulas were ratified as owners in October of 2014, though, the insinuation from other owners around the league that day was an expectation that a new stadium would be coming down the line in Buffalo. Though through it all, the idea of renovating New Era Field has lingered -- which raises the question on if the other owners around the league have softened in their stance over the last almost five years.
"The league just, I think they more or less want to see something done one way or the other," Terry Pegula said. "We're one of the smaller markets. Any way we can increase our revenue, they're for it."