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'Generational pride' | Bills Mafia thankful to have team's future secured in Buffalo with new stadium 

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the New Highmark Stadium, June 5, 2023.
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the New Highmark Stadium, June 5, 2023.

Longtime Bills fan and season ticket member Jim Binner has a black and white photo of him and his brother that dates all the way back to when the current Bills Stadium was being built in the 1970s. 

The two brothers — both kids at the time — had a smile on their face as they posed with the unfinished structure in the background that would become the home to multiple generations of Bills teams. 

On Monday, Binner and other longtime Bills Season Ticket Members were among the few hundred invited guests at Monday's Groundbreaking Ceremony for the New Bills Stadium that will soon be home to future generations of Bills Mafia. 

"To reflect on that photo and to be here today for the groundbreaking — it's a once in a lifetime experience," Binner said. "I'm super happy to be here and be a part of this."

The ceremonial groundbreaking, kicked off by speeches from Bills Owner/CEO Terry Pegula, NY Governor Kathy Hochul, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, ushered in a new era of Buffalo Bills football. 

"I've been to about 20 groundbreakings over the years, but none is more meaningful for me than this one here today. This community and these fans deserve this," Goodell, a WNY native said. 

The long-term commitment to the New Bills Stadium ensures the team will remain in Buffalo through at least 2055. 

"Really, this extension was not about me, it was about the younger fans," said Frank Barber, another longtime Bills Season Ticket Member. "Hopefully they can experience some of the things we've had the chance to."

Added Binner, "I have twin boys. They're going to be the third generation of seat holders as I pass it along to them. So it's a generational pride and fulfillment of all the years of commitment, good or bad. We never miss a game."

The two Bills Season Ticket Members are also part of the Buffalo Bills fan advisory board, a committee of 20 members that meets quarterly to discuss and address specific issues related to the Bills Mafia fan experience. 

As a season ticket member for over 50 years, Debbie Hill said being part of the advisory board and helping give feedback to make the fan experience the best it can be has been a great joy for her. And it was even more special to her to receive an invite to the groundbreaking.

"It was ultimately the most honored thing to happen to me in a long time," she said.

Hill lives close by the current stadium in Orchard Park and she said she couldn't be happier that the Bills will continue to be a part of her life and her family's life for years to come.

"I have always loved that they're here and we are staying here in this area because the stadium is not going far," Debbie Hill said.

Bills owner Terry Pegula, Bills EVP/Chief Operating Officer Ron Raccuia, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Governor Kathy Hochul, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and a host of invited guests participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Bills new stadium on Monday, June 5.

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