Terry Pegula on Buffalo Bills' New Stadium


(WGR550 reporting from PHOENIX) -- Here is a partial transcript of Buffalo Bills co-owner Terry Pegula's comments Tuesday at the NFL Owners' Meetings on the team and plans for a new stadium, edited for clarity:

Q: Terry, when you were ratified as owners of the Bills, a lot of the talk was that there was an understanding that a new facility would be needed for the Bills. Has that softened a bit, because I know the survey came out where it left the door open on renovating New Era Field as it stands today, as opposed to getting a new stadium. So have the owners in that room softened on what they initially said?

Terry Pegula: We've employed CAA ICON and Populous. They're doing a market study. It will be done this summer. It's pretty extensive the work they're doing, and so I can't comment on what their results are because I don't know. We have dribs and drabs of what they've seen so far, but you know we're open to any option and we'll see what the market study says.

Q: I'm just wondering in terms of the expectation from the league?

Terry Pegula: The league, I think they more or less want to see something done one way or the other. And we're one of the smaller markets, and any way we can increase our revenue they're all for it.

Q: Have you maybe asked some of the other owners for advice in terms of people who have been through this? Obviously it's your first time.

Terry Pegula: Yeah, we do that, we do that a lot.

Q: There's been a long-held question as to a new stadium and could the Western New York market support it from an economic standpoint, the model that it takes to make a lot of these new stadiums work? I know you're still factfinding, but as a businessman do you have a general sense of what the answer to that question is?

Terry Pegula: I think the answer is probably a scaled-down version of some of these palaces that are being built around the country. You know the thing Stan (Kroenke) is building in L.A. is amazing. Jerry Jones' facility in Dallas. So you know we need to do something that's Buffalo-style.

Q: So your response is that you would favor building something as opposed to renovating what you have now?

Terry Pegula: We'll see what the market research says.

Q: I want to go back to the football stadium and whether it be what you do at KeyBank Center but really primarily football. Do you have a sense at this point how much public money would be involved in those projects?

Terry Pegula: I don't have any idea, no.

Q: Would you potentially be willing to foot the bill for a new stadium yourself?

Terry Pegula: I don't know.

Q: Is everything still on the table as far as location, if let's say it was new, location, dome, no dome, grass, turf, all that stuff?

Terry Pegula: We're waiting for our study to come out and see what all they tell us, what our market can support.

Q: So anything can happen as far as that's concerned?

Terry Pegula: I don't know. If we build a stadium, do you want a dome on it?

Q: Some people do, some people don't.

Terry Pegula: I know Miami doesn't. I know (Dolphins owner) Steve Ross doesn't. He's told me that.

Q: But do you?

Terry Pegula: No. We'll see what the study says. It's all about what we think our fans want, what they prefer.

Q: If the study shows that the marketplace just doesn't want to pay for, everybody wants the new thing, but paying for it is two separate things. Can you live with a renovated or just an improved existing stadium?

Terry Pegula: Again, let's wait until the summer and see what kind of results we get out of what the experts are telling us our market is.

Q: Has the league given you any comments or direction, or push in a time frame?

Terry Pegula: No. No.

Q: On the football side of things, you've got Josh Allen now. What did you see from him in his rookie season that maybe gives you confidence that you finally found the franchise quarterback?

Terry Pegula: The first thing I told Josh was, 'You jump over a linebacker like you did, you do that three times, you're going to be out (laughs).' But I mean, Josh, one thing we've seen from him, everybody knows he's got an arm. What I was impressed from him was how the team just sucked into him and he's just the focal point. He became the leader and he's a hard worker and he's a heck of an athlete. So we'll see what he can do this season. But I can tell you this, he's going to be a good leader.

Q: We've heard from Brandon (Beane, the Bills GM) and Sean (McDermott, the Bills head coach) to their responses of people taking shots at Buffalo after the whole Antonio Brown thing and how passionate they were about defending the city and things that were written and said. What was your reaction when those things were happening?

Terry Pegula: First off, I don't know what was written and said because I think I told you last night I don't look at that stuff. ... Buffalo is a good town to be in. We all know that, we're all here. And I think Brandon, I saw what his quote was, that you need to come here, see what it's all about and then you'll know that it's a good place to be. So that's all I have to say to that. And you know Antonio Brown, you know he made his decision. We tried and it didn't work out for either one of us.

Q: Entering year three with Sean and Brandon, and now that you've gone through this big free-agency period, what's your level of confidence, faith that you're closer to being the team you want the Bills to be?

Terry Pegula: For one thing, these guys work and they're smart. They put the time in and we talk a lot, and there's such good communication between all three of us and Kim (Pegula). It's just fun to be there and work with those guys, and if they can communicate with me, I know they can communicate with the players and the staff and that's a good thing. There's a good vibe over there.

Q: Do you have any sense that maybe the hard part is over in terms of the patience of how Brandon and Sean wanted to build this and that maybe we could see a turn in terms of results in the next year or two?

Terry Pegula: You know I mentioned Josh Allen, we've got another young piece on defense, Tremaine (Edmunds). So you know we're developing some good solid foundation for the football team, too, so you know, we got ten draft picks this year. So, we'll see what happens.