The Buffalo Bills on Tuesday formally submitted the final contractual agreements on their new stadium — including a detailed 30-year lease — to the Erie County legislature.
As reported by The Associated Press, the legislature now has 30 days to review the documents and ratify the agreement. The county's approval would clear the way for construction on the now-projected $1.5 billion-plus, 60,000-plus seat facility to begin by June 1 across the street from the Bills' current stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. The cost of the facility has increased from the original estimate of $1.4 billion.
A majority of the construction on the open-air stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2026 season.
The finalized agreements were negotiated by the Bills, the state and county, and posted on the county's website. The details of the agreement were completed a little more than a year after the three parties reached a tentative deal on the project that included a taxpayer commitment of $850 million — the largest public price tag for an NFL facility, the AP reported.
The NFL, through its G4 loan program, and the Bills agreed to commit $550 million in financing, with team owners Terry and Kim Pegula's share coming in at $350 million — much of that made up by the team introducing seat licenses for season-ticket holders. The Bills are also responsible for covering any construction overruns beyond $1.4 billion.
The state is committing $600 million toward constructions costs, as well as another $280 million to cover maintenance and operational costs over the 30-year period. The state is taking over sole control of the new stadium after previously sharing the lease with the county.
"Today marks another significant step taken as we approach a groundbreaking ceremony later this spring," the Bills, state and county said in a statement.
The notable details in the final agreements include a 30-year lease that features a non-relocation clause in which the Bills would have to pay back all public funding through the first 14 years of the deal. The payback amount drops over the final 16 years of the agreement.
The deal includes a community-benefits agreement in which the Bills will commit $3 million annually toward social and educational purposes and the economic health of the region. The Bills also agreed to include a public transportation hub, as well as sidewalks and pathways at the facility.
The new facility will replace the Bills current stadium, which opened in 1973 and was deemed too expensive to renovate. A state study in November 2021 pegged renovation costs at $862 million, according to the AP.