Wed, 27 Sep 2023

Bills break ground on $1.54B stadium

Field Level Media
06 Jun 2023, 05:19 GMT+10

The Buffalo Bills broke ground on their new $1.54 billion stadium Monday, with NFL, state and local dignitaries on hand to mark the occasion.

It was an emotional day in the suburb of Orchard Park, where the Bills have played since 1973. Among the crowd to watch the first shovels turned were Mary Wilson, the widow of Bills founder Ralph Wilson.

The team and public officials agreed on a public-private financing plan to keep the Bills in a modern stadium in Orchard Park, across the street from the location of the original Rich Stadium, now called Highmark Stadium. The Bills announced Monday that Highmark, a Western New York insurance firm, will be the name sponsor of the new stadium when it opens in 2026.

The stadium financing includes $600 million from the state and $250 million in county funds, with the rest coming from the team.

Bills co-owner Terry Pegula told the crowd that it's time to add to the storied history of the team with the new stadium.

"So let me get this straight," he said. "We're going to build a stadium here, right? And we're going to tear down a stadium over there that's full of memories. So, we need to fill this stadium with more memories, and continue our legacy.

"We should remember the past, but embrace the building of our future."

Pegula teared up as he paid tribute to those who weren't there for the next step in Bills history -- his wife and co-owner Kim, who is battling health issues, and the 10 victims of last year's mass shooting at a Buffalo grocery store.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who was born about an hour south in Jamestown, N.Y., was among the dignitaries to grab a shovel. Of the 20 or so groundbreaking ceremonies he has attended, this one holds a special place for him, he said.

"None of them are more meaningful than being here today. This is an extraordinary community, they deserve an extraordinary stadium, and you're going to get it. ... Western New Yorkers have always shown that passion for football, for the Bills," he said.

"The Bills are now secured in Western New York. And that's something that we should all take great pride in."

--Field Level Media

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