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The Buffalo Bills‘ long-term future in western New York was secured when Terry and Kim Pegula purchased the franchise following the death of Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson in 2014.
Where the team will play its home games – at its current stadium in suburban Orchard Park or at a new downtown Buffalo facility – within the next decade is the question.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell touched on the topic at league meetings in Florida on Wednesday by saying the Pegulas are ”at a very early stage” in assessing their options. Goodell then left the details to be announced by the owners when they are ready to share them with the community.
On Tuesday Nick Nelson Color Rush Jersey , Terry Pegula said, ”We talk about that heavily internally, but not publicly,” when asked if the Bills would consider using the opt-out clause in their lease in two years to explore a new stadium site.
The Bills later clarified Pegula’s comment by saying he was referring to long-term stadium plans and adding that the team had no plans to opt out of the lease, which expires in the summer of 2023.
The Bills maintain they are early in their planning process and have not ruled out any option. They’re also aware that time will become an issue in determining whether the next lease negotiations will focus on a long- or short-term agreement.
The questions come down to building a new stadium, either downtown or near the Bills’ existing site; renovating their current home, New Era Field; and how much public money would be spent.
One possibility is pairing a new stadium and Buffalo’s need for a new convention center, which would ease concerns over taxpayer money being spent on a stand-alone sports facility.
A new stadium alone would cost approximately $1 billion.
Staying at New Era Field, which opened in 1973, also wouldn’t come cheap.
A stadium site selection study conducted by AECOM Technical Services in 2014 projected it would cost $540 million for the next series of renovations, including structural improvements and rebuilding the stadium’s third deck. The study based its estimates on what it cost the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs to extensively renovate their facilities over the previous decade.
And that cost is on top of the $130 million in renovations that took place four years ago, and the $18 million the Pegulas are spending on club seat upgrades this year.
The next step would involve the Bills hiring a firm to conduct a feasibility study to identify sites, costs and what best suits a franchise based in one of the NFL’s smallest markets.
The AECOM study was commissioned by New York state – not the Bills – at an uncertain time during the sale process. Concerned that someone out of town would purchase the Bills and consider relocating them Cheap Saquon Barkley Jersey , Gov. Andrew Cuomo had the study conducted to provide prospective owners a list of options of what the region had to offer.
The relocation fear ended once the Pegulas, who own the NHL’s Sabres and have established a corporate base in Buffalo, emerged as the front-runners.
The AECOM study can at least still serve as a guide.
Of the three downtown stadium sites identified, one is no longer an option because it has since been developed.
The site that drew the most attention is a large two-block parcel of street-level parking lots located in the city’s emerging Cobblestone entertainment district. The site is located a block east of the Sabres’ arena and within two blocks of HarborCenter, a $200 million hotel and hockey entertainment facility built by the Pegulas, and the headquarters of Pegula Sports and Entertainment.
One person directly involved in discussions three years ago, after the Pegulas purchased the team, told The Associated Press in January that the Bills were focused on building a downtown stadium, and that the Cobblestone site was regarded as ”one of the prime target areas.” The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private.
It’s unclear whether those plans have changed.
At the time, the state was tentatively committed to funding the necessary infrastructure upgrades, such as expanding roadways and access ramps from nearby Interstate 190. The site is also close to public transportation. It’s a five-minute drive from the Peace Bridge border crossing into southern Ontario, a few blocks from the Amtrak Rail station, and within about 15 Derrius Guice Color Rush Jersey ,000 parking spaces.
Developer Carl Paladino, who owns a large number of properties in the area, called the Cobblestone site ”the most logical place to put it (a stadium),” in an interview with the AP in January.
Kim Pegula outlined the challenges the Bills faced during an interview with the AP in 2014.
”You only get to build a stadium once, so we just want to make sure we take our time and do the right thing,” she said. ”We just want to make sure that when the time comes that we have done all our homework and have the best stadium that we can for Buffalo.”
The Pegulas have since backed off discussing stadium plans by calling them premature, and added they’re satisfied with the most recent renovations.
Now that Mike Sullivan and Barry Trotz have matched wits in a playoff series for three consecutive years, they harbor very few secrets.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals know each other inside-out from 17 postseason games since 2016. The coaches are very familiar with the dynamics of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and just about all the other moving pieces.
”Every move that we make there’s a counter move, and every move they make there’s a little counter move,” Trotz said. ”It’s funny: A lot of them are the same things that we’ve seen at different parts in the last couple series. They just come in different order sometimes at you. There’s only maybe so many bricks that you have and they are just lined up a different way all the time.”
Sullivan moved his pieces around as Pittsburgh tied the series at 2-2, and now Trotz gets the next chance in their chess match for Game 5 on Saturday (7 p.m. EDT Troy Apke Color Rush Jersey , NBC). After Alex Ovechkin put no shots on net for the third time in his playoff career – with Tom Wilson suspended the first of three games – it starts with finding the right mix on the top line.
Trotz tried Devante Smith-Pelly with Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, and that trio was outshot 21-9 at even strength. Maybe Smith-Pelly will be back on that line, maybe he won’t after the Capitals coaching staff pored over video to see what went wrong.
”We’re looking at that,” Trotz said. ”I think that whole line has to be better for us. They’re going to need to be productive.”
Pittsburgh’s top line of Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby and whoever else has been incredibly productive. All 10 of the Penguins’ goals in the series have come with Crosby on the ice, and Guentzel leads all players in the playoffs with 10 goals and 21 points.
”I just think he’s the best player in the game,” Sullivan said of Crosby, who played with Guentzel and Dominik Simon in Game 4. ”Sid certainly makes everybody around him better players but you’ve got to give Jake a lot of credit for the game that he’s playing.”
The Penguins got speedy winger Carl Hagelin back from injury while the Capitals lost Wilson. That’s a disadvantage for Washington, but the spotlight is still on Trotz to make the necessary adjustments as Capitals-Penguins becomes a best-of-three series.
”I think every game both teams recalibrate, if you will, in some areas,” Trotz said. ”There’s little changes we’ve noticed with them, and there’s some changes that we added in. Some of them worked and some of them didn’t have the effect that we wanted to. At the end of the day Tremaine Edmunds Color Rush Jersey , it’s two guys going nose to nose, battling for position, battling for free pucks, executing on plays under pressure. Once we put a plan in place, we put the players in charge, really.”
CHESS MATCH II
In the West, Nashville coach Peter Laviolette also made a key change in the series between the NHL’s top two teams, benching Game 2 double-overtime hero Kevin Fiala in favor of veteran Scott Hartnell for more size, strength and experience against Winnipeg. That, plus replacing Alexei Emelin with Yannick Weber, allowed Nashville to better counter imposing Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien in tying the series at 2-2. Game 5 is Saturday night in Nashville (9:30 p.m. EDT, NBCSN).
Laviolette said making a change involves taking into account the opposition, building Mike Marjama Seattle Mariners Jersey , a player’s experience and style of play.
”They’re never easy,” Laviolette said. ”But I thought the guys that went in the lineup last night did a really good job. Hartnell played a good game. He did what we were hoping he would do, and I thought Yannick Weber went in and played a good game.”
With the Jets held without a shot for the first 12 minutes of the third period, Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice started mixing up his lines. He swapped centers, skating Mark Scheifele with Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine with Paul Stastny between Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor. Laine scored his first goal of the series and first in the postseason since Game 2 on April 13 against Minnesota.
DERBY DAY ODDS
The betting favorite to win these two series will be whoever comes out on top in Game 5, based on history alone. The 256 previous times where it was tied at 2, the Game 5 winner went on to win the series 78.9 percent of the time. So there’s no urgency lacking.
”We’re going to need our best effort of the series probably in Game 5 to get a win,” Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen said. ”I think we’re building a belief that we can beat these guys. We know we’re going to have to play really well, but it’s possible. We think we can do it.”
AP Sports Writers Will Graves in Pittsburgh and Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed.