ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Kathy Hochul had originally set the target date for a deal between New York State, Erie County and the Buffalo Bills on a new football stadium for Jan. 1.
Leading up to the State of State speech, analyst Jack O'Donnell said there was chatter an announcement could be imminent.
"The buzz in Albany really was that this would be a perfect place for her to at least announce that they had made an agreement, or were close or whatever that was, and that the Bills would stay here," O'Donnell, O'Donnell & Associates, said.
There was no mention of the Bills or a stadium Tuesday. Despite that "buzz," O'Donnell said it was not surprising. Last month, Hochul moved the figurative goal posts to March, and a day before the speech, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said while sides were getting closer, there was no deal yet.
"I think it really comes down to maybe they're still not quite there on the deal, even if they're getting close," O'Donnell said.
However, he said even if all sides had reached an agreement, it wouldn't necessarily be in the governor's best interest to make an announcement during the State of the State.
"There will absolutely be people pushing back on a significant investment in this stadium, and so that might provide an incentive to wait until later in the process,” O'Donnell said. “Put out your exciting things in the budget. Do your tour. Get some credit for things you're doing and minimize the time for people to attack you.”
He said the next opportunity for stadium news could be when Hochul releases her draft budget, but it may likely come later in the budget negotiation process.
"One of the things we've seen in the past, certainly under Governor Hochul’s predecessor, was to sort of start the budget process, do a lot of negotiating with the Legislature and then to come into the last week there and add on something like a Bills stadium, so I guess the suspense builds," he said.
O'Donnell said no news is not necessarily bad news and he doesn't see any reason for Bills fans to be concerned about the future of the team in Western New York.
"We haven't heard from the Bills," he said. "We hadn't heard from their allies that things were going badly so I don't think that there's any reason for New Yorkers to be concerned."
A state study estimated a stadium in Orchard Park would cost at least $1.4 billion.