ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Buffalo News reported Sunday that talks have started, although it's in the early stage, for a brand new stadium for the Buffalo Bills.
According to The Buffalo News, Pegula Sports and Entertainment pitched a $1.1 billion proposal for a new stadium in Orchard Park. It would be $1.5 billion when you add in renovations for KeyBank Center. And they want the taxpayers to pay for it.
Sunday afternoon, 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing spoke with New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. She confirmed that talks are happening and that a dollar figure has been put on the table.
"I do know that there has been an ask from the Pegulas and I know that the governor and his team has been in communication with them," Peoples-Stokes said.
Peoples-Stokes confirmed to 2 On Your Side that the $1.1 billion figure is the number she has heard from the governor's office.
"I believe at the end of the day that we're going to be able to come together with both private investment, public investment and investment from the Pegulas themselves to make this a reality," Peoples-Stokes said.
Peoples-Stokes said what's happening now is the beginning stage of negotiations and, "everybody who is in the process is always going to start at their highest game but at the end of the day I don't think this can be a totally taxpayer funded initiative."
State Senator George Borrello said, "There is no way anybody is going to build a billion dollar anything in New York State without incentives."
Borrello doesn't think the public should pay the entire bill.
"New York State is probably the most costly state for them to build this stadium and as a result that's probably going to mean some kind of a public participation if they want to keep the team here," Borrello said.
According to The Buffalo News, sources tell them the team has not threatened to leave Buffalo, but that other cities that want an NFL franchise would be willing to pay for it.
As with any negotiation, leverage is key. A tweet from ESPN reporter Seth Wickersham late Sunday cited that an unnamed source in Bills ownership mentioned Austin, TX as a possibility.