Report: Bills hire Jones-connected firm on new stadium talks
The Buffalo Bills are pursuing plans to build a new stadium to replace their aging facility, and have selected a company controlled by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the New York Yankees to represent them in negotiations, VenuesNow.com reported on Friday.
The publication cited “industry sources” in reporting the Jones-Yankees controlled Legends Global Planning firm being selected to represent Bills owner Terry and Kim Pegula in discussions. The publication also reported, a company division, Legends Global Sales, was selected to sell sponsorships and seat licensing for the prospective new stadium.
The report comes after the Bills opened talks last month with New York state and county officials last month to determine their long-term future home. The discussions were based on a feasibility study the Pegulas launched to assess whether to renovate their current facility, Highmark Stadium, built in 1973, or build a new one either near their existing suburban site or downtown.
The study was privately funded and its results not released to the public.
A spokesman for Pegula Sports and Entertainment declined comment on the report. New York State officials did not respond to messages from The Associated Press, while an Erie County spokesman said the selection of Legends was strictly a Bills decision and made without county input.
A message left with Legends was not returned.
The partnership with Legends makes sense as Terry Pegula has developed a close friendship with Jones. The Yankees connection is also considered important, because the Major League baseball team is considered to have clout at the state level.
The price tag for a new stadium is projected to be at $1.5 billion. That’s a considerable price tag for one of the NFL’s smallest markets, with questions focusing on how the costs would be split between public and private entities.
Renovating the current stadium wouldn’t come cheap. A 2014 study funded by the state projected it would cost $540 million for the next series of renovations, including structural improvements and rebuilding the stadium’s third deck.
Pegula has previously stressed the Bills will take into account how much the local economy can bear in whatever option is chosen.
“We have the interest of our fans at heart, and what we do will be heavily weighted — whatever the plan is — toward the benefit of our fans,” Pegula told The AP in June 2019.
The Pegulas also own the NHL Sabres, and the study includes proposals for much-needed upgrades to the team’s downtown home, KeyBank Center.
AP Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon in Dallas, and Associated Press Writer Marina Villeneuve, in Albany, New York, contributed to this report.
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