The bargaining continues.
New York State officials may be looking at some sites in Buffalo in the quest to build a stadium for the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills franchise. The team plays in Orchard Park, New York and there was some thought that the team owners and New York State would construct a new facility next to the old football stadium because building in Orchard Park was less expensive than in Buffalo. Initially, the Bills ownership was going to ask New York State taxpayers to pick up a large portion of the estimated $1.4 billion cost to build a 60-thousand seat facility in Orchard Park. The negotiations between the franchise owners, New York State and Erie County officials have started. There is a new governor, Kathy Hochul, at the bargaining table, and New York State finances have to be considered. Hochul is running for governor in 2022 and the Bills stadium might become a campaign issue. Buffalo is a small regional market that includes Rochester, Syracuse and parts of southern Ontario including Toronto and Hamilton.
The Buffalo market is not big enough to handle an NFL franchise anymore. There aren’t many Fortune 500 companies in the area and that is problematic. 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. Bills ownership has claimed all it wants is an Orchard Park stadium that would open in 2027. The haggling continues.
Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191