The Buffalo Bills have hired Populous to design its new stadium, a sign that they are close to a deal for a stadium, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The person spoke under the condition that anonymity was maintained because the Bills and their parent company Pegula Sports and Entertainment have yet to announce the decision. The news was first reported by the Athletic earlier in the day.
This move comes as the Bills are in negotiations with the county and state to reach an agreement that would provide hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds for the construction of a new stadium next to their existing facility in Buffalo’s suburb, Orchard Park. The cost of the proposed stadium, which would be open-air and accommodate 60,000 people or more, was estimated at $1.354 billion by a state study.
Governor of New York Kathy Hochul indicated last week her confidence that she could reach a deal before the end the month in order to include the project in the April state budget. She specifically mentioned the issue of the lease’s length to ensure that the franchise is able to continue its presence in Buffalo.
Last summer, the Bills began discussions with a detailed line-by-line financial breakdown of the facility. However, there were no renderings of the actual stadium. After an agreement was reached, the team stated that it would only hire a company.
Populous is a recognized leader in stadium design. Its projects include venues for the Olympic Games, including Beijing, as well as numerous NFL stadiums including the home of the Arizona Cardinals and the Miami Dolphins.
The Bills want to replace the existing facility that opened in 1973. It has been considered too costly to renovate. The construction of the project could be completed in time for the 2026 season if it is approved.