Design & Development

Buffalo Bills stadium already $300m over budget – reports

A rendering of the new Highmark Stadium, Buffalo, NY

Featured image credit: Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills’ new stadium project is running almost $300m over budget just three months into construction, according to reports.

An Associated Press (AP) story cites anonymous sources that claim costs are now at almost $1.7bn, having been put at $1.4bn when the project’s finances were agreed by the NFL team and the local authorities in New York State in March 2022. Increased labour and material costs were cited for the increased price, with one source saying one line item has already come in at $75m over budget. Another source said a delay in sending out bids also had an effect in upping the cost.

The report comes soon after the firing of Bills executive vice-president Ron Raccuia, who was involved in stadium negotiations. Newly appointed Bills COO John Roth has called the projections cited in the AP story premature and speculative.

“We don’t know enough yet to confirm this,” Roth told the AP on Wednesday, noting only a small percentage of the contracts and bids have been completed.

Under the terms of the agreement reached in 2022, New York State and Erie County will commit $850m towards the new Highmark Stadium project, but the rest is the responsibility of the Bills. This was initially estimated at $550m – including a contribution from the NFL – but would now be at around $850m, according to AP’s sources.

The new Bills stadium in Orchard Park will have a capacity of around 60,000 and is scheduled for completion in time for the 2026 NFL season. The Bills released the first renderings of the stadium back in October 2022, having worked with architecture firm Populous on the design.

It is estimated that the project will create around 10,000 construction jobs. Erie County will transfer ownership of the exisiting Highmark Stadium and the adjoining complex to New York State, which will also own the new stadium and lease it to the Bills.

The Bills held an official groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site of the new stadium in June 2023. On the same day it was announced that the venue would be called Highmark Stadium through an extension of a naming rights deal with current partner Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York.