New York State is poised to give a big subsidy for a new Bills stadium.
It appears that the Pegula family-has hit the jackpot and New York State along with Erie County will be putting money, about $850 million into a new stadium for the Pegula owned Buffalo Bills National Football League franchise. The new stadium could open in 2026 and the team would be locked into a lease that would end in 2055. The state, Erie County, the NFL and Bills ownership wanted to get an agreement done by the time the New York State budget was due, which is on April 1st. New York Governor Kathy Hochul thinks the stadium will be paid off in 22 years. The Pegula family wants a stadium that seats somewhere between 60,000 and 62,000 people, with room for up to 5,000 more customers on a standing-room-only party deck.
Buffalo is a small regional market that includes Rochester and Syracuse in New York along with Toronto and Hamilton in Ontario, Canada. The Pegulas need state stadium funding because the area doesn’t have a taxable base with big money that could help with stadium costs. In 1959, when Ralph Wilson purchased an American Football League franchise and placed it in Buffalo, instead of Miami, the area had heavy industry, steel mills, flour plants and a major port. Wilson only paid $25,000 for the business. The Pegula Bills’ lease to use the Orchard Park facility ends in 2023. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo was in the Bills ownership camp in 2012 with a new lease agreement which included renovations and taxpayers handing over a couple of million dollars annually to Bills owners. The $850 million public subsidy is the largest public money offering on record for a stadium. Those numbers are always murky because of how municipalities pay down the debt on avenues. Nevada put up $750 million for a Las Vegas NFL stadium to house Mark Davis’ Raiders. The money train keeps going.
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