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Will Bills Follow Vikings' Script Toward a New Stadium?



(WBEN) - On Monday, Jim Kelly became the latest name to declare that the Bills need a new stadium if they're going to stay in Western New York. That must mean it's time to break out the shovels and get going right?

Not so fast.

"If a person is really anxious to see a new stadium built, I think patience is the word of the day, because nothing happens fast. It was a fight to the bitter end," said reporter for WCCO radio in Minneapolis Susie Jones, who covered the Minnesota Vikings' quest to build a new facility.

The planning process for that stadium began back in 2007, but ground wasn't broken until this past December. "There was a lot of wrangling about who was going to pay what with the general fund pay money because that's what people were really upset about."

In the end, it was agreed that public dollars would be used to pay $498 Million, or 51%, of the new stadium which is scheduled to open in 2016.

Are the Bills about to follow a similar script? Early indications say yes.

Aside from who would pay for the stadium and how, where to put the stadium was another hot issue, as it is in Western New York. "The political wrangling is almost mind-boggling," said Jones. "I remember going to a press conference with beautiful displays and a handout describing how this new stadium was going to go into this new development in Arden Hills (a neighboring city in Minnesota). The next day, Minneapolis came in and said; uh, no, it's going downtown."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who recently said that the Bills would likely need a new stadium, was also vocal in Minnesota.

"At one point in the struggle, the Commissioner came to town. There was a real intensity toward the end, and he came in and said if you don't decide yes, (the team will move). Kind of a threatening feeling."

And also like Western New York, Jones said Vikings fans were vocal about their needs and concerns throughout the entire process that took years.

Could the Bills follow a similar path toward a new stadium that keeps the team in Western New York? Only time will tell if they follow the Vikings' script.

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