Buffalo Bills: New Playing Surface on the Horizon for New Era Field

The Buffalo Bills are halfway through their current 10-year lease of New Era Field. It is now set to receive $3 million from Erie County to renovate different parts of the facility.

New Era Field has been the home of the Buffalo Bills since it opened in 1973 and has been at the brunt of league criticism because of its age. In November, Pegula Sports and Entertainment hired a Denver-based firm by the name of CAA ICON to conduct a survey regarding the future and next steps for the team. The results of that survey will not be known for another six to nine months, and in the meantime, more money is set to be spent on the current stadium.

In mid-February, Erie County announced they would be investing $3 million in new upgrades for the playing surface. These funds will be designated for both minor tasks, including painting and concrete repair, as well as the major project of a completely new playing surface. Additionally, some work is going to be done on the various stadium parking lots.

The big ticket item is the actual playing field. Erie County Public Works Commissioner William Geary said the updates to the turf and track on the main field “will be the latest and greatest updated field.”

This upgrade is the latest in a series of turf replacements in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers replaced the turf at Lambeau Field just over a year ago. Even more recently, the Kansas City Chiefs were forced to replace their turf before their AFC Championship game last season.

The last keystone project was $130 million that was invested in 2014, as part of the new lease.

A new turf field will be beneficial to the Bills this year; it will soften up the ground when playing, limiting injuries and wear and tear on muscles. This is especially crucial in the winter when snowfall and cold weather deteriorate the playing surface. According to the Buffalo News, the last time the turf was replaced was in 2011.

The $3 million being invested into “The Cap” this year is in addition to $18 million being put into the team’s practice facility. The Adpro Sports Training Center is adjacent to New Era Field; that building will receive an addition in the spring. The addition to that building will include an upgraded weight room and a massage room, among other amenities. That project will be a 25-thousand square foot addition to the facility.

Crews are reportedly going to begin working on the various new projects around the beginning of May. The intention is to have everything finished by the end of training camp.

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