Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed optimism that the Bills will remain in Buffalo and suggested the franchise will need a new stadium to ensure its long-term viability.
In calling the Bills’ recently negotiated 10-year lease agreement a “short-term solution,” Goodell on Wednesday said a new stadium would be the next step in securing the team’s long-term future.
“We all want to focus and get that stadium built,” Goodell said. “We need to find the right long-term solution that is good for the community and can help the Bills continue to be successful in western New York. I’m confident we’ll get there.”
Goodell spoke during a pre-NFL draft event in New York City, and his comments were provided in a transcript released by the NFL.
The Bills’ long-term future is uncertain after the team’s owner and founder Ralph Wilson died in March. Wilson’s estate is in the process of appointing an investment banking firm to oversee a sale of the team, which raises concerns of the Bills relocating.
Goodell became the first to publicly suggest the team will require a new stadium.
Previously, Bills officials and state and local leaders have called that a possibility, while not ruling out the potential of making more renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium, which opened in 1973.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was not surprised by Goodell’s comments, noting he discussed the issue with the commissioner and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz a day earlier.
“We’re all on the same page,” Cuomo said. “If a new stadium is what’s needed and is possible, it will get done.”
Cuomo has already recognized the likelihood of the Bills needing a new facility. A day earlier, the state hired AECOM, a California-based architectural and design firm, to identify three or four sites across the region that could serve as the team’s new home.