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Poloncarz says county will play key role in negotiations for new Bills stadium

The talks are likely to be far more complicated than the last deal he worked on, which was the extension of the lease at the current stadium in Orchard Park.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Matters of a new stadium for the Bills continue to occupy the minds of many, including Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

He told 2 on Your Side on Friday that he and the county will play a key role in negotiations, which he says are nowhere near to being complete.

Those talks are also likely to be far more complicated than the last deal he worked on, which was merely an extension of the lease at the current stadium.

"Last time we started negotiations in early part of the year, and didn't announce the deal until September, then officially didn't close the deal until May of the following year, so these are not something that happens overnight," he said.

As far as the renewed push by some Buffalo Common Council members to bring the new stadium downtown, Poloncarz said if that were to be the case, then the City of Buffalo would "be expected" to make a significant financial contribution as well for the project.

Six members of the Buffalo Common Council are trying to tip the scale in favor of bringing the Bills back into the city. The group includes President Darius Pridgen, Jon Rivera, Christopher Scanlon, Joel Feroleto, Bryan Bollman, and Rasheed Wyatt.

On Tuesday, they adopted a resolution stating their belief that local and state lawmakers have a chance to correct the mistake that moved the team to Orchard Park in the late 1960s. Copies of the resolution were sent to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, the Buffalo delegation of the Erie County Legislature, Gov. Kathy Hochul, and the Buffalo delegations of the New York State Senate the Assembly.

Whether a new stadium comes to Orchard Park or Buffalo, Poloncarz says his focus is on keeping the team here in Western New York.

"We're negotiating for not only the construction of a new stadium, but we're negotiating to make sure the Buffalo Bills are the Buffalo Bills," added Poloncarz.

"When I entered into the lease agreement in 2021 on behalf of Erie County, we were worried about losing a team to Los Angeles. St. Louis lost their team to Los Angeles, and so did San Diego. And Oakland lost their team to Las Vegas. And that's all happened since we negotiated the deal and finalized it in 2012. There are other communities out there that would like to have an NFL team. I'm working hard to ensure it's not our team."