Could Buffalo Bills play games at Penn State's Beaver Stadium in future?

ADAM BITTNER
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)
Penn State's Beaver Stadium could play host to some Buffalo Bills games in the future.

It may not be long before Penn State's Beaver Stadium is pulling double duty.

WROC-TV in Rochester, N.Y., reported over the weekend that the NFL's Buffalo Bills are considering the 107,000-plus seat behemoth as their temporary home field while their proposed new stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., is under construction.

The project likely would not be completed until 2025 at the earliest. The team's lease at its current home of Highmark Stadium, however, expires in 2023, possibly leaving at least a one-year gap in housing.

Extending the lease at Highmark, the station reports, remains the strongly preferred option for the Bills. But if they can't reach a deal with the state and Erie County, Happy Valley could be a Plan B destination alongside Toronto.

Team owner Terry Pegula is, of course, one of Penn State's most generous alumni donors. His donation of more than $100 million allowed the school to construct the Pegula Ice Arena and begin competing in hockey at the NCAA Division I level in 2013.

He's since brought the NHL's Sabres to the arena multiple times for preseason games, one of which was played against the Penguins in 2019. (Pegula bought that team in 2014.)

It's for that reason that a similar move with his football team makes some sense if a deal with New York officials falls through.

Still, State College is more than a three-hour drive from the Buffalo area, which could pose significant travel challenges for fans who want to attend games, especially in the frigid winter months of December and January.

Sharing the building with the Nittany Lions could present significant logistical issues, as well, as Beaver Stadium houses just one set of locker rooms and requires Herculean efforts from cleaning crews after games, even without the time pressure of making the building ready for an NFL game day on Sunday following a Saturday Penn State game.

Then there's the matter of hotel availability in the area. Most rooms in and around State College tend to be booked months in advance of Penn State home games. Adding the Bills to that mix could push rates to astronomical levels and leave fans of both teams out of luck on weekends they each play at home.