The Buffalo Bills could be moving to a new city. According to Seth Wickersham of ESPN, the Bills could move to Austin, Texas as the team is looking to get a new stadium at their current location, Orchard Park in New York. Wickersham said Austin is a potential destination - or threat - as one of the "other cities elsewhere that desire an NFL franchise and would pay handsomely for it."
The Bills recently put a proposal in for a new stadium which would cost $1.5 billion and would be entirely taxpayer-funded. The proposal would also help renovate the Buffalo Sabres arena in downtown Buffalo. If the proposal gets the green light, the stadium will be county-owned and be built right next to the existing stadium. According to the Buffalo News, the Bills have not made any threats to leave the city if it doesn't get full funding for the stadium. However, the team made it known there are other NFL cities that would welcome a franchise.
An ownership source tells me that Austin is a possible destination—or threat—as one of the “other cities elsewhere that desire an NFL franchise and would pay handsomely for it.” https://t.co/zMf1oChO8K— Seth Wickersham (@SethWickersham) August 1, 2021
"Governor Cuomo is committed to the Bills staying in Buffalo, as demonstrated by the state's contribution to the recent $130 million investment in the current stadium. The administration is fully engaged with the Bills and other stakeholders as we conduct due diligence to understand the economics around the team's proposal ahead of the current leasing expiring in 2023," Freeman Klopott, a spokesman for Andrew Cuomo's budget office, told the Buffalo News, per CBS Sports.
The Bills have been playing at Highmark Stadium at Orchard Park since 1973. It has gone through its share of names over the years such as Rich Stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium, New Era Field and Bills Stadium. The construction cost for the stadium in 1973 was $22 million, which would be $128 million now.
The proposed new stadium would take 3-5 years to finish and could start playing in the facility in 2027 at the latest or 2025 at the earliest, according to RochesterFirst.com. The Bills have the lease at Highmark Stadium until 2023, which means they would have not have a home game at least for one season. That would not be good for Bills fans who are one of the most loyal fanbases in the NFL.