The Week of Stadium and Relocation Announcements

In this weekend's hot clicks, the three different franchises that reportedly could be relocating to new stadiums, a basebrawl anniversary and more.
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Stadiums & Relocation

Three huge pieces of stadium and relocation news dropped at the end of the week, starting with John Hollinger’s report Thursday morning of the New Orleans Pelicans potentially seeking relocation.

Pelicans’ governor Gayle Benson is “deeply connected to New Orleans and not currently looking to sell, but losing money while finishing the lottery has not been an enjoyable side venture to the main business of running the Saints,” Hollinger reported for The Athletic while also noting the Pelicans are the “most likely team to see relocation in the coming decade.”

The news came one day after head coach Stan Van Gundy was fired for winning only 31 games (and leading the franchise’s eighth playoff whiff in the last 10 years) and hours before it was reported that Zion Williamson’s family members want him traded.

A few hours later, the Chicago Bears announced on Twitter the exploration of a potential move to the suburbs.

The Bears, whose home stadium has been Soldier Field since 1971, submitted a bid to purchase the Arlington International Racecourse property in Arlington Heights, a location about 15 miles northwest of O’Hare International Airport and 30 miles northwest of Soldier Field. The bid and potential departure from Chicago is just “noise,” proclaimed Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, who just wants to see them beat the Packers and be “relevant past October.”

And on Friday, WROC-TV in Buffalo reported the Bills are planning to build a new stadium in Orchard Park:

“The new stadium will be open air, but with partial covering for fans in the stands,” according to WROC-TV's Thad Brown. “The entire project is expected to require 3-5 years start to finish. While downtown Buffalo was likely a strong consideration, the cost of the project makes more sense to build in Orchard Park.”

Mike Catalana compared the stadium’s “partial covering” to the one at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

Buffalo's Highmark Stadium lease expires in 2023, which would leave the Bills without a home field for at least one season before the new stadium is built. If needed, the Bills could play their home games temporarily in Toronto or at Penn State, according to Brown. Toronto is a logical temporary relocation site; the Bills played there annually for the Bills Toronto Series from 2008-13. On the surface, the Penn State possibility may seem a little random. However, Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula have strong ties to the university. Terry is a Penn State alumnus, and their $88 million donation helped fund the campus's Pegula Ice Arena and create the Nittany Lions' men's and women's varsity hockey programs. Additionally, Penn State has long been trying to host professional sporting events at Beaver Stadium.

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