Exploring possible Bills stadium sites

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said twice last week he believes the Buffalo Bills will need a new stadium to remain viable in Western New York.

While Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz quickly responded to say that a retrofit of Ralph Wilson Stadium remains on the table, architectural and design firm AECOM was set to begin touring potential sites for a new stadium this week. The group is expected to send a completed report to New York State by July, suggesting three or four stadium sites.

While its unclear exactly which sites AECOM will tour or consider, a few potential spots for a new stadium emerged in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, the Daily News reported that Batavia, New York could be in the mix as a stadium location. Batavia is a city of about 15,000 situated in a rural area halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, New York, which proponents believe would be an ideal location to attract fans from the two major cities in the Bills' market.

Meanwhile, the Greater Buffalo Sports & Entertainment Complex restarted efforts last week to build a stadium on Buffalo's outer harbor, an industrial area on Lake Erie that is currently home to dilapidated grain elevators and factories. The group previously presented plans for a retractable roof stadium in 2012. Of all proposed stadium sites, a lakefront stadium would be the closest to downtown Buffalo.

The Associated Press also reported last month that Niagara Falls, located just north of Buffalo, could be on the table as a potential stadium site. A stadium in Niagara Falls would be closer to the Bills' fanbase in Ontario, but would also be in located in an urban area that has struggled with a high crime rate and a lack of commercial development.

Where would you like to see a new Bills stadium? For context, NFL teams have succeeded in building stadiums in both urban and suburban areas. Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium and Chicago's Soldier Field are good examples of lakefront venues, while Arizona's University of Phoenix Stadium and Dallas' AT&T Stadium were built further away from city centers.

What would work best in Buffalo?