The Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans have secured important backing for their respective new stadium projects from the NFL at the League’s winter meetings.
NFL franchise owners, by a 32-0 vote according to the Buffalo News, signed off on two essential parts of the Bills’ stadium agreement – a year-to-year extension on the team’s lease at its current home, Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, and a 30-year lease agreement for the new stadium.
In March, the Bills reached an agreement with New York State and Erie County to build the new $1.4bn (£1.15bn/€1.32bn) stadium in Orchard Park, with New York Governor Kathy Hochul securing a 30-year commitment for the team to remain in Buffalo.
New York State will commit $600m towards the new stadium project, with Erie County to provide $250m. The NFL and the Bills will provide the remaining $550m needed to build the new stadium. The agreement is in the process of being finalised, a process that reportedly could be completed by the end of the year.
Pegula Sports and Entertainment, ownership group of the Bills, last month selected a consortium that will be responsible for the construction of the franchise’s new stadium.
The joint venture of Gilbane Building Company and Turner Construction Company, in association with 34 Group, was chosen to provide construction management of the planned new stadium in Orchard Park. The project team also includes the project management firm, Legends Project Development, which was brought on board in April, and Populous as the designer.
The Bills in October released the first renderings of its planned new stadium, which is scheduled for completion in time for the 2026 season. The stadium will feature a 360-degree enclosed canopy and temperature-controlled spaces. It will have a capacity of around 60,000 – fewer than the 71,000-capacity Highmark Stadium – however this will be expandable for special events.
Titans stadium financing
Meanwhile, NFL owners approved a combination of loans and grants worth $200m for the Titans’ proposed new stadium in Nashville.
The investment represents 10% of the projected cost for the 60,000-seat stadium, which will be enclosed. “We’re grateful to be one of several teams approved this week for NFL stadium investment programs,” Titans representative Kate Guerra told The Tennessean.
“It’s clear that many stadiums around the NFL, including stadiums listed in our current lease as Comparable Facilities, are evolving at a rapid pace. We remain committed to removing Metro’s General Fund from the burden of keeping up with those facilities through the proposed new stadium terms in front of Metro Council next week.”
The Titans’ plans cleared another hurdle earlier this month after the Metro Nashville Sports Authority approved the project. The Sports Authority manages Nissan Stadium, the current home of the NFL team. The Titans agreed terms with Nashville and Davidson County Mayor John Cooper for a new enclosed stadium back in October.
The Metro Nashville Council is now assessing the deal, and it is hoped that all steps will be finalised in the first three months of 2023. The terms of the deal agreed by the Titans and Mayor Cooper state that the Sports Authority will issue $760m in revenue bonds to fund the stadium, with this to be repaid through revenue streams such as tourism. The Titans, the NFL and personal seat license sales will provide $840m in funding, with $500m to come from the one-time state contribution.
The Titans released the first batch of renderings of the new stadium shortly after agreeing the deal with Mayor Cooper. More renderings, produced by Manica Architecture, were released last month.
NFL stadium projects
The Bills and Titans’ projects were one of six on the agenda at this week’s NFL meetings. Renovation plans put forward by the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos were also given the green light.
Measures related to the $1.2bn overhaul of Camden Yards Sports Complex, which includes the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, were also reportedly approved.