Wednesday September 27, 2023

Goodell: No Stadium Groundbreaking ‘More Meaningful’ Than Bills

  • Event formally begins development on $1.54 billion project
  • Team seals naming rights extension with Highmark
Buffalo Bills
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September 27, 2023 | Podcast
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The Buffalo Bills formally broke ground on their new $1.54 billion stadium in Orchard Park on Monday, officially launching a project big on both dollars and emotions.

The stadium — set to open in 2026 and whose development involved more than two years of political wrangling – includes $850 million in money from the state of New York and Erie County, the second-largest public subsidy ever for an NFL stadium behind the newly finalized Tennessee Titans project.

For NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, though, the event meant much more given his own Western New York upbringing: “I’ve been to a lot of groundbreaking ceremonies in my time at the NFL, and none of them are more meaningful.”

Bills owner Terry Pegula followed with his own tearful remembrance of victims of last year’s deadly mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket.

The stadium represents a major asset for the Bills — who play in the NFL’s second-smallest media market — to remain economically competitive.

New Building, Same Name

The $690 million contribution to the stadium project from the Bills and the NFL will be buttressed by a newly finalized extension of the team’s existing stadium naming rights deal with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. The new facility will be called Highmark Stadium, the name of the Bills’ current home since 2021.

Highmark had first right of refusal to keep the naming rights. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“It was really important for us to have that continuity,” said Ron Raccuia, Bills’ executive vice president and chief operating officer.

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