BUFFALO, New York — ESPN reports that the owners of the Buffalo Bills are threatening to leave the city and that Austin, Texas, is a potential relocation destination.
Don’t get your hopes up too high, though. At this point it looks like leverage for a stadium deal.
The owners of the Buffalo Bills and the Sabres, Buffalo’s NHL franchise, plan to ask for public funding for the construction of a new stadium for the Bills and renovations to KeyBank Center.
RELATED: Report: Bills owners asking $1.5 billion for new stadium, KeyBank Center upgrades
The Buffalo News is reporting that Pegula Sports & Entertainment, the teams’ owner, is asking for $1.5 billion for a new stadium in Orchard Park for the Bills and to help cover renovations to the Sabres' arena in downtown Buffalo. Preliminary talks have begun between the Bills' owners, the state and Erie County for a new stadium.
Sources told The Buffalo News that the public would cover 100% of the costs of the proposal. The new stadium is expected to be built adjacent to the team's current stadium, Highmark Stadium, at a cost of $1.1 billion, with several hundred million going to renovations to the Sabres’ home arena.
The most any American city has ever spent in public funding for a sports stadium was $750 million, for Las Vegas' Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the NFL's Raiders.
The Bills’ lease of the stadium from Erie County ends in 2023, assuming no temporary extension during construction of a new stadium.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott acknowledged the story in a tweet but there has been no word about potential partnerships or a stadium location in the Austin area. Stay tuned.