Goodell: Pegulas in 'very early stage' of long-term stadium planning

The commissioner addressed the stadium and lease at the owners meetings

Sal Capaccio
March 28, 2018 - 1:06 pm

Photo: Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

ORLANDO, FL (WGR550) - On the heels of Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula saying Tuesday that the team is having heavy internal discussions regarding the long-term planning of New Era Field, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that the owners are focused on current renovations and are in the very early stages of any planning for the future.

“As you know, earlier this week, we did a short-term, joint financing with the Bills to make some short-term improvements in that facility,” Goodell told reporters here at annual league meetings.

The Buffalo News reported Tuesday that the Bills are spending $18 million in private funds to improve club seats and ribbon-board digital signage at New Era Field, including selling the naming rights to the Jim Kelly, Van Miller, and Paul Maguire club areas.

“I know that they’re focused on this and they’re looking at how they address these issues long-term,” Goodell said. “But I think those [updates] are better coming from the Pegulas, whenever they’re at the point in which they want to share that with the community. I think they’re in the very early stage.”

New Era Field is now 45-years-old. The stadium’s lease with Erie County expires in February of 2023 when it will be 50-years-old. The Bills have a right to opt-out of the lease in 2020, allowing them more flexibility to plan for a new stadium independent of any government entities.  

"We talk about that heavily internally, but not publicly," Pegula said. A team spokesperson later clarified that Pegula's response to say that he was referring to general long-term planning and that the team is not opting out in 2020.

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