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Bills in “fact-finding mode” regarding new stadium

There is talk of the Buffalo Bills eyeing a new stadium and Mike Florio wonders if owners will start to gravitate to larger markets for new stadiums, so they can see a quicker return on their investments.

Earlier this month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula need to look at their stadium situation to “see what it takes to make sure the Bills remain [in Buffalo] on a successful basis.”

The Bills recently completed a $130 million renovation at Ralph Wilson Stadium that they believe keep the building where it needs to be for the team to be competitive. Team president Russ Brandon said they came to that plan after considering all of the options on the table and Kim Pegula said that the team is taking a similar approach when it comes to a new home.

“We’re in the fact-finding mode,” Pegula said, via the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. “We want to make sure we have all the information that is relative to our community, to our fan base. We’re not Atlanta, so it’s hard for us to say we’re going to build a stadium like Atlanta. We can’t. It’s not just a yes or no, it’s a lot more involved than that. We don’t talk about it now because we don’t have all the answers and we don’t want to get misconstrued because things change.”

Buffalo is the league’s second-smallest market and the Bills have the lowest average ticket, parking and concession prices in the league. Brandon said that’s worked for the team because they operate “with a volume model” that’s enabled them to remain at the Ralph while keeping costs down, but a new stadium would mean “cost increases across the board.”

If the Bills are going to go the new stadium route, they will have to figure out how to make those increases without alienating those they’ll need to buy tickets, suites and PSLs. That’s not likely to be a quick process nor should it be given the success the Bills have had filling their current home.