BUFFALO, NY – Late Tuesday afternoon, the Buffalo Bills offered their first comments regarding a story aired on Channel 2 Monday night, about the first appointments made to a panel, which will study options for a possible new stadium for the team.
When the latest lease deal between Erie County and the team for Ralph Wilson Stadium was hammered out in late 2012, it was also announced that there would be a panel named, and 11 million dollars set aside, to begin studying options for a new stadium.
Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon released the following statement:
"We are very appreciative of the continued support of New York State and Erie County for the Buffalo Bills franchise.
Our primary current operations focus is, as it must be, on the modernization process that is occurring presently here at the Ralph Wilson Stadium campus. We have to bring it home safely, on time, on budget and with a level of quality, we can all be proud of. We are confident our fans will be excited about the numerous changes taking place on our stadium campus and we look forward to being near completion by the start of the 2014 season.
In the 2013 Ralph Wilson Stadium lease the parties collectively saw the wisdom in the establishment of a New Stadium Working Group. This group was designed to include representatives from New York State, Erie County and the Buffalo Bills. The group's mandate is to begin to explore '(i) the development and construction of a new stadium either on the [Ralph Wilson Stadium site] or on another location in Erie County, or (ii) a substantial renovation of [Ralph Wilson Stadium].'
We look forward to re-engaging with Lt. Governor Bob Duffy and Empire State Development President Kenneth Adams as well as County Executive Mark Poloncarz and his staff, all of whom were instrumental in securing the current modernization project. We also welcome Mayors Byron Brown and Paul Dyster as well as Dottie Gallagher-Cohen of Buffalo Niagara Partnership to the effort."
Assuming the Bills are still here when the latest lease deal expires in 2023, Ralph Wilson stadium will be 50 years old.
The Governor has appointed the first five, of his seven eventual selections for the panel...the County will get around to naming seven, as will the Bills.
Meanwhile, Greater Buffalo Entertainment and Sports Complex LLC has already developed a proposal for a for a $1.4 billion multi-use stadium, hotel, and convention center on land along the outer harbor.
One of its partners, George Hasiotis, told WGRZ-TV they have not been asked to participate, and do not expect to be asked.
However, he said if offered, he would take would take a seat on the panel, and that the first thing he would tell the others, would be to hurry up.
"We're saying if you don't start this year, or next year you're not going to have a facility that takes 8 years to build, that is going to keep any kind of interest from professional sports in this market," Hasiotis said.