ORCHARD PARK N.Y. (WIVB) – The debate on where the next Bills Stadium should be built continues. Should they stay in Orchard Park, or move to the downtown area?
News 4 caught up with Buffalo Bills fans during Sunday’s game. Many fans say they want to see a new stadium in Orchard Park because it’s a tradition, while others want to see a change.
“I think Orchard Park,” said Bills fan Shervis Andrews when asked where she’d prefer a new stadium to be.
Andrews attended Sunday’s game with Mark Cellus, who said he wanted the stadium to go downtown.
“I think downtown. It’ll be bigger business, for the casino, hotels downtown, the restaurants. If we could find a good spot, I would love for it to be downtown,” Cellus said.
If a new Bills stadium is built in or near downtown Buffalo, some Bills fans worry it’ll take away from the tailgating experience that has surrounded orchard park for decades.
“I just don’t think we’ll get the same experience in Buffalo. Definitely won’t get the same tailgating experience, which is a huge part of it,” said Bills fan Shannon Sweeney.
“I think the reality is that part of being a Buffalo Bills fan is the entire experience, from start to finish, and tailgating is part of that experience and I’d hate to lose that,” Tim Wangler. “I think it stays right here.”
Fans who want the stadium to stay in Orchard Park also argue that building a stadium downtown would create a mess with traffic and parking.
“It would be a lot of hassle,” said Will Grant, who was tailgating before the game. “You look at the Sabres’ games, there’s a complete load of traffic. It would slow a lot of things down.”
Fans who support the idea of a stadium downtown say it could bring a lot more fans who live in the city out to games and help businesses located downtown.
“After today definitely bring it downtown,” said Bills fan Shamari Cheney.
“I think if we bring it downtown it’ll bring way more people than we got here now,” said Jamar McCarter.
“Build in Orchard Park where it would be less expensive, where it would be quicker where it would be easier,” he said. “I think that’s the way to keep the Bills in our community.”
Mayor Brown says a stadium built downtown could cost a billion dollars more, bringing the price tag to around $2.4 billion. He added that the city ultimately has no say where a new stadium could be located and it comes down to what state and county officials and what Terry and Kim Pegula and the rest of the Bills organization agree on.
The Buffalo Bills’ lease at Highmark Stadium is set to expire in 2023.
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