The Buffalo Bills and the NFL will reportedly provide at least $350 million towards a new stadium, but public funding will likely exceed $1 billion.
Talk and speculation about the Buffalo Bills building a new stadium has been ongoing for many years. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has previously said it’s a necessity, whereas Bills’ co-owner Kim Pegula expressed doubt about it coming to fruition.
Taking this into account, the latest news should receive plenty of attention from the Western New York area. As per a report from Jason Wolf and Tim O’Shei of The Buffalo News, the NFL will apparently help finance a new stadium for the Bills.
As per Wolf and O’Shei, the Pegulas can apply for a loan of up to $150 million from the NFL. This would then be repaid by the other 31 franchises, through the visiting team’s share of Bills’ ticket revenue.
In order for the Pegulas to receive this loan though, they must provide at least $200 million of their own money. Even under these circumstances however, the $350 million of private funding still pales in comparison to what would likely come from the public.
Current projections have the cost of the new stadium coming to $1.4 billion, meaning public funding would exceed $1 billion. In this respect, the Bills are set to provide their plans for public funding to the league’s joint stadium finance committee this week.
Understandably, there is a lot of criticism about relying so much on public money to finance a new stadium. For what it’s worth however, last year Forbes‘ ranked the Bills as the NFL’s least valuable franchise — albeit still $2.27 billion — likely not helped by being in one of the league’s smallest markets.
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New York Governor Kathy Hochul has defended the move to negotiate such a high amount of public funding, by stating that pro teams have alternative options. Essentially, she was alluding to other markets being willing to support an NFL franchise.
As per Wolf and O’Shei, Hochul said an agreement for a new stadium deal is expected by April 1. This date is key, as it means the deal would be included in time for the state’s final annual budget.
The next step would then be having any proposal approved by at least 24 of the NFL’s owners, with the assumption being there would be a positive outcome. At that stage, the Bills’ ambition to build a new stadium would finally become a reality.
The Bills have played at their current stadium since 1973, and their present 10-year lease expires in July 2023. Understandably, the length of any extension would be tied to how long it would take to build the new stadium.
We’ve asked in the past about the need for a new stadium in Buffalo, citing the examples of the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers purely renovating their current long-term homes. However, Chicago is apparently now looking for a new stadium, while we appreciate the Packers’ situation is unique.
Ultimately, it comes down to what the Pegulas, the other NFL owners and Goodell want. As such, a new stadium will be built and, as is often the case in such a scenario, public funding will account for the majority of the money.
What is your opinion on the latest news regarding funding for the Buffalo Bills’ new stadium. Do you agree or disagree with the funding split as it has been outlined? Let us know in the comments section below.