ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Tuesday was the first meeting of the Buffalo Bills’ 20-person New Stadium Working Group. Formation of the committee was required as part of the new lease at Ralph Wilson stadium; the members are tasked with working on a long-term solution to keeping the Bills in western New York.
With last week’s death of 95 year-old Bills owner Ralph Wilson, the committee’s goal has become more urgent.
The Bills lease keeps the team playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium until 2023. However, a new owner could potentially move the team to another city in 2020 by paying a penalty. Current NFL team owners would also have to approve the move.
Experts throughout the country believe for western New York to keep the team, the region would need to have plans for a new stadium.
The committee 20 individuals – selected by the Bills, Erie County, and NY State – will recommend whether western New York should build a new stadium, or if further upgrades to Ralph Wilson Stadium will be sufficient.
Most of the group attended Tuesday’s meeting, including Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon, NYS Lt. Governor Robert Duffy, and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Media was not allowed to be present during the closed-door meeting.