Buffalo Bills Are Staying In Orchard Park

Photograph: Adrian Kraus/AP

The NFL owners have approved financing the loan and project plays for a new stadium in Western New York. The owners have approved $200-million in league financing for the new Buffalo Bills stadium and the overall project in general. [1]  Shortly after approval, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz held a press conference to discuss the terms of the agreement.[2]  It appears that there will be a formal announcement from New York State on what is expected to be most of the funding and what is estimated to cost upwards of $1.4 billion. [3] Out of that number, taxpayers are expected to fund approximately 850 million . [4] On the bright side, this means that the Buffalo Bills will stay in Buffalo for another 30 years and the project will create around roughly 10,000 union jobs, which will produce economic activity in Western New York. [5] The Bills announced that the anticipated opening of the new stadium will be 2026 season. [7] The stadium will be an outdoor facility directly across the street from Highmark Stadium. 

            This new stadium set a record for the most public money set toward the construction of a new stadium. [8] The most money an NFL team has been given in public tax money for a new stadium had been the Las Vegas Raiders, which received $750 million in tax money to help build the Allegiant Stadium. [9] Further, the NFL is giving the Bills a $200 million loan while the Bills will be putting $350 million toward the stadium. [10] However, a portion of that loan will come from 50,000 personal seat licenses to all season-ticket holders that will cost $1,000 each. [11] This alone was one of the crucial factors in the Raiders moving from Oakland. Here, the Bills will not be going anywhere for a long time, and a new stadium ensures that. More importantly, the taxpayers are the main reason for that. [12]

            Since the taxpayers are included in funding this stadium their feedback is crucial. The fans and the public at large have already been participating in the planning process. There have been focus groups that included season ticket members, club seat holders, suite holders, corporate partners, community leaders, workers, and staff. [13] The location of the stadium was also a crucial decision, and there were extensive studies done as well regarding it. [14] Downtown was an extremely popular option, while Amherst was an option as well. [15] These other two locations however, required significantly more money and more time. Further, moving the stadium downtown would require the displacement of residents, which is what the Buffalo Bills were trying to avoid. [16] A positive to the stadium being built across from the old stadium is there will be no disruption in the game day experience for the 2022 season. [17] What will be done with the old stadium is still in question. 

            It is hard to please everyone, and it is even harder to make crucial decisions such as this. Time will only tell if the placement of the stadium was the correct one. What is known for sure is that the generous taxpayers are a large part of the process and can continue to gear up on Sundays and root for the Buffalo Bills here in Buffalo, and possibly jump through a table or two.

[1] https://www.wgrz.com/article/sports/nfl/future-of-the-bills/new-bills-stadium-on-agenda-at-nfl-meetings/71-636b2821-7e9a-4cd3-a762-0aeffd68911c

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[8] https://sports.yahoo.com/bills-reach-deal-for-new-stadium-with-a-record-amount-of-taxpayer-money-funding-it-164653173.html

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[13] https://www.buffalobills.com/news/what-bills-fans-need-to-know-about-the-new-bills-stadium-project

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