On fall Saturdays, Beaver Stadium is home to 100,000 of the most rabid fans in college football.
Now there are talks that it could be a short-term home on fall Sundays for 100,000 of the most rabid fans in professional football.
That comes from a report from WROC-TV about the ongoing saga of the Buffalo Bills seeking a new stadium.
The Buffalo television station says the Penn State stadium could be used as a temporary home for the NFL squad if the Bills are unable to extend their lease at their current home, Highmark Stadium, beyond 2023 with the Erie County, N.Y. government.
WROC reported that the Bills have a plan to build a new home field in Orchard Park, N.Y. after more than a decade of searching for a solution to replace their current home where they’ve played since 1973. The new stadium would be a 3-5 year project that could be ready for play as early as 2025, but more likely later in the decade, and regardless would extend past the current lease at Highmark Field.
If no deal is reached, an option described as one the Bills would undoubtedly prefer to avoid, the team would reportedly consider two options: Toronto, where the Bills played some games from 2008- 2013 in an effort to see if their Canadian hosts could become a new permanent home, or at Penn State, the alma mater of owner Terry Pegula.
Both Penn State Athletics and the Bills have not returned requests for comment to 6 News about the report.
Using Happy Valley as a host is no stranger to Pegula, who along with his wife Kim have owned the Bills since 2014.
He donated more than $100 million to Penn State that was used for the construction of an on-campus hockey arena that bears his name, and he brought another team he owns in Buffalo, the NHL’s Sabers, down to the Pegula Ice Arena for two preseason games in 2016 and 2019.
But using Beaver Stadium could pose problems.
Scheduling Nittany Lions and Bills games, while also ensuring enough hotels and accommodations for both fan bases and their opponent’s fans in and around game day would be a logistical challenge in an area the size of Centre County. Also, the stadium isn’t fully equipped to be used when the weather gets below freezing; something that would be necessary for the longer NFL season, which, with its new 17-game regular season setup, stretches well into January.
While the university has launched an in-depth study on how to renovate the stadium, including making it a more year-round facility, none of those plans are shovel-ready.