• Sports News
  • NFL
  • Is the open-air plan for the new Buffalo Bills stadium a design flaw?
Rendering of New Buffalo Bills Stadium

Is the open-air plan for the new Buffalo Bills stadium a design flaw?

The Buffalo Bills released more renderings of their proposed new stadium in Orchard Park on Monday. The New York franchise first announced their plans to build a new stadium in October 2022. The plan for the team is to move into the stadium by 2026.

The stadium is expected to cost a total sum of $1.4 billion. The Bills have committed $550 million into the project in an agreement that involved a 30-year lease. A total of $850 million from the taxpayers will also go into the construction with New York State and Erie County committing $600 million and $250 million, respectively.


Designed by Kansas City-based Populous Holdings, the company behind more than a dozen NFL stadiums, the new stadium is designed to be open-air. This comes as a surprise considering the snowy weather conditions that Orchard Park is known for. Therefore, is the open-roof a design flaw in the new Buffalo Bills home?

One step closer toward the New Bills Stadium.

The latest renderings have arrived! #BillsMafia

Be the first to learn more: buffalobills.com/newbillsstadium

The Weather Condition of Buffalo in Recent Years

The Bills had a game against the Cleveland Browns rescheduled to Detroit last season as a result of a heavy snow storm. This wasn't the first time the Bills were experiencing such a situation. The team also had their game against the New York Jets moved out of town in 2014.

Buffalo has experienced snowy winters in recent years. A historic snowstorm occurred in 2014, which dumped over 7 feet of snow in some areas over the course of a few days. This was caused by a unique combination of lake-effect snow from Lake Erie and a cold front, which resulted in extremely heavy snowfall.


Buffalo has become notorious for its lake-effect snow in recent years. It has lately received an unprecedented amount of snowfall, with over 100 inches recorded, making it one of the snowiest winters on record. The city continues to experience extreme weather conditions during the winter, causing disruption to a lot of activities.

An NFL game between the Bills and the Indianapolis Colts in 2017 is now famously known as the "Snow Bowl," having been held in the midst of a snow storm. The new stadium open-air design therefore poses a huge level of concern with respect to Buffalo weather, causing many to ask a lot of questions about the project.

Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills

A Potential Flaw in the Stadium Design?


One would logically have expected the Bills and all the parties involved in the development of the stadium to come up with a domed and retractable roof plan. However, they've stuck to the open-air design, which could definitely cause a lot of problems for the team in the latter part of the NFL season.

Earlier research by Empire State Development revealed that the Bills ownership prefers an open-air stadium as outdoor football fits into the team's tradition. Scott Radecic, a former Bills linebacker and a senior principal at Populous, believes the open-air design isn't much of a problem. He stated:

"We know the Buffalo fans' reputation is that they're hardy. They’re tough fans. They’ll withstand any weather event and come to the stadium."
Fan during Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills

He, however, admitted to a noticeable decline in attendance during extreme weather conditions, stating:

"What we found through looking at the historical ticket scans is that when there is inclement weather late in the season, attendees who have purchased tickets don’t always show up."

This, in essence, showcases an oversight of the design of the stadium, which could have a negative impact on its functionality and safety in the future. Domed and retractable stadiums are becoming a staple of the NFL and it's surprising why the Bills haven't chosen to go otherwise. This is despite appearing to be the team that needs it the most in the league.

Edited by
Gaelin Leif
See more
More from Sportskeeda