The Buffalo Bills are laying the groundwork to build a new stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., WROC-TV of Rochester reported Saturday.
The team investigated a move to downtown Buffalo but has decided to stay in Orchard Park, its home since 1973. Their lease at Highmark Stadium runs out after the 2023 season.
The venue, previously called Rich Stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium, New Era Field and Bills Stadium, is the fourth-oldest in the National Football League, after Soldier Field in Chicago, Lambeau Field in Green Bay and Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
Plans call for a new stadium to be open to the harsh Buffalo elements, with a partial covering for stands.
Per the report, the project still needs to secure funding and government approvals before construction can begin. The timeline could be as long as five years for a new stadium.
Should the project proceed, the Bills would need to extend the lease at Highmark Stadium or find a temporary home, with Toronto and Penn State University both possibilities, the station said.
Toronto is about a two-hour drive from Buffalo; Penn State four.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said during Super Bowl week in 2020 that the Bills need a stadium similar to those of other NFL teams.
“I think everyone’s committed to that,” he said, “whether it’s a new significant renovation or whether it’s a completely new facility in a new location.”