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Buffalo mayor: Orchard Park is a better place for new Bills stadium

Byron Brown says his primary concern is getting a deal done quickly to ensure the team stays in Western New York.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo’s mayor thinks the Bills' new home should be outside of Buffalo.

Mayor Byron Brown explained why he prefers a new Bills stadium in Orchard Park at a City Hall news conference on Friday. It centers on getting a stadium deal done as soon as possible.

“In my view, the longer this lingers on with other cities, with other states wanting professional football teams, I think it puts our team, the Buffalo Bills, at risk,” Brown said Friday.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has consistently said getting the stadium deal completed is a priority for her administration, and it's possible negotiators are in a 30-day window where a deal could be announced.

With the stadium price tag at about $1.5 billion, it’s believed state government could be on the hook for much, and possibly most, of that cost. Such a large outlay would likely be included in the state budget. 

Typically, the state budget is unveiled in mid-January.

The Bills organization has repeatedly said it is interested in one site, across the street from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. Stadium studies paid for by both the team and state government agree that location would be quicker to build and cheaper than the site in Buffalo’s Old First Ward.

Still, there has been a steady drumbeat of advocates to bring the Bills back to the city. There were recent Common Council public hearings about the benefits of the team once again playing its home games in Buffalo.

University District Council Member Rasheed Wyatt is among the bring-the-Bills-back movement. Today on WUFO-AM, Wyatt said, “Not having the Bills downtown, building on what we have done thus far, it’s just a no-brainer to me. I don’t understand why anyone would think that not having the Bills in Buffalo is OK.”

Callers to the radio show frequently touted the economic benefit a new NFL stadium would bring to the city.

Mayor Brown says he has seen the stadium studies commissioned by both the Bills and the Hochul administration. He says to him, it’s about getting a deal done sooner.

“There are a lot of issues, but to me the most urgent, the most pressing issue is keeping the Buffalo Bills in this community," he said.

And the quicker deal, says the mayor, is the one that puts the new stadium in Orchard Park.