Photo: Brayton J. Wilson (@BJWilsonWGR)

Pegula Sports and Entertainment to begin comprehensive study of venues

This could determine the next steps for the Bills stadium needs and potential renovations of KeyBank Center

November 27, 2018 - 10:19 am

Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - Earlier this year, Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres owner Kim Pegula had indicated there may be some movement on next steps regarding a possible new football stadium after the November election. On Tuesday, the team announced their next steps.

Pegula Sports and Entertainment announced that it has hired CAA ICON to assist its efforts in determining the next steps for the Buffalo Bills stadium needs, and also to asses potential renovations of KeyBank Center.

CAA ICON will conduct a privately-funded study to help identify what the Pegulas call the "best options for ownership, fans and the community."

“The number one priority for this study is the fan experience,” said Kim Pegula in a statement. “CAA ICON has an extensive resume, having participated in dozens of first-class professional facilities, along with Harborcenter and Penn State’s Pegula Ice Arena. We have the utmost confidence that CAA ICON’s unparalleled experience will help ensure that our venues achieve the highest standards.”

The study is said to include direct feedback from Bills and Sabres fans.

According to CAA ICON's website, the firm's Feasibility and Planning services answer the question whether to construct a new venue or renovate an existing building. 

“As both New Era Field and KeyBank Center have aged, they have fallen behind modern standards,” said Bruce Popko, PSE’s Chief Operating Officer in a statement. “Terry and Kim Pegula have invested more than $2 billion of their own money in our market, including $350 million in privately-financed venue upgrades and expansions. With both leases nearing expiration, we look forward to developing a plan and working with our public sector partners to solidify the futures of the Bills and Sabres.”

Over the coming months, CAA ICON will guide PSE through a stadium feasibility analysis to identify the needed improvements to all aspects of the fan and team experience at either a new football stadium or renovated New Era Field. According to the Pegulas, the study will equally focus on modernizing the more than 23-year-old KeyBank Center.

CAA ICON’s study will include potential football stadium sites, design, and financial planning for all options. In addition to CAA ICON’s internal venue development and strategic advisory experts, CAA ICON has partnered with national and local architectural and engineering consultants for the evaluations. Populous, leaders in the design of iconic arena and stadium projects, will lead architecture and planning services.

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