Potential Bills buyer thinks team may need a dome in Buffalo

AP

The Bills may remain in Western New York but move indoors.

Billionaire Tom Golisano, a former owner of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, has confirmed that he is interested in buying the Bills from the estate of the late owner Ralph Wilson, and that he would keep the team in town. But Golisano indicated that a new stadium may need to be built.

“My guess, and it’s strictly a guess, is the stadium will be covered,” he said, via the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. “I don’t know if it’ll have a sliding roof or just a permanent roof, but my guess is it will be covered. And the state government, our governor and some of our U.S. senators are very much in favor of this happening.”

Golisano has been linked to developer Scott Congel, who owns land about 10 miles from Ralph Wilson Stadium that could be the site of a new stadium. Such a deal is a long way off, but Golisano made clear that he hopes an arrangement for the Bills to stay in the Buffalo area can be worked out.

“The important thing is someone buys [the team] and keeps it in western New York,” he said. “Do I feel it has to be me? No, I’m not possessed about owning the Buffalo Bills, just as I wasn’t possessed about owning the Buffalo Sabres. They were in danger of leaving, too. In fact they were a lot closer to leaving than the Bills are. I got involved then because I wanted to keep that entity in western New York, and I want to keep the Buffalo Bills in western New York.”

Snow in Buffalo in December is a longtime NFL tradition, and it would be sad to see it go. But if the alternative is the Bills leaving the area entirely, Buffalo fans would embrace a dome.

83 responses to “Potential Bills buyer thinks team may need a dome in Buffalo

  1. Domes ruin football. If you’re going to put the Bills in a dome, then you might as well move them to LA where the weather won’t be a factor at all.

  2. Google Scott Congel and Medley Center, that guy is a weasel scumbag. I hope he’s not involved, he’d screw over anyone for a nickel.

  3. As a Bills fan, I can say that the bad weather games are no fun. As a fan, im less likely to attend a domed NFL game.

    Just thought Id let you know Tom.

    The fact of the matter is, it would be nice to get year round use of the stadium, but you lose the fan experience by doing so. And as long as the team is winning, you will have no problem selling out cold weather seats.

  4. There goes any home field advantage the Bills had.
    Personally I look forward to late season bad weather games. Its what football was meant to be.

  5. The NFL is doing their upmost to take the Bills’ snow field advantage away by scheduling away games or having them play cold weather teams in December. Might as well build a dome like they’re doing in Minnesota.

  6. It will be outraging if Bills fans comment on here complaining about it a dome would ruin the tradition of snowy football in Buffalo.

    Maybe it would, but them leaving town would be ruining a lot bigger of a tradition in a much worse way. Big picture, people.

  7. It needs a retractable roof at least, otherwise it cannot host events (concerts, conventions, etc) year-round to maximize revenue, which is the whole point behind a new stadium.

  8. It would make more sense to build a dome or retractable roof stadium for the following reasons.

    1. Games in late November and December are awful. The metal bleachers are freezing and as a result, the Bills can’t sell out those late season games. Dome would equal more seats being sold.

    2. If you have a dome then you can host alternative events throughout the year (music concerts, WWE, Monster truck etc.)

    3. Games in december are awful!!!!!

  9. ghostfacenoah says: Jun 6, 2014 8:53 AM

    It would make more sense to build a dome or retractable roof stadium for the following reasons.

    1. Games in late November and December are awful. The metal bleachers are freezing and as a result, the Bills can’t sell out those late season games. Dome would equal more seats being sold.
    …………….
    The reason the Bills don’t sell out those games isn’t the weather. It’s the 9 straight losing seasons and 14 straight years without the playoffs.

    After this drought, if the Bills are in the thick of the hunt in December, the Ralph will be filled. Trust me.

  10. It would have been more fun for him to say the team needs to build snow machines that pump extra snow onto the field. Keep your boring tidbits and guesses to yourself for the time being. We don’t need to hear what you maybe think should be the case in the event that you become an Owner. He could have at least specified which cities in Western New York he has in mind since he is focused on that large area as opposed to being specifically in Buffalo. Why not share those thoughts that are strictly a guess too?

    So does that mean you guess at a move to Rochester, or is Syracuse considered “western”? Where you standing right now Tom?

  11. Go to a game at the Ralph in September/October. The weather is perfect. Don’t let a permanent dome ruin that.
    And to be honest, there’s something fun about going to a game in a snow storm. Maybe its booze, I don’t know. Its just unfortunate the Bills are out of the playoff race come December. The response would be astounding

  12. We’d be much more likely to visit Buffalo (or a new Niagara-dome) for November-January road trip games if the Bills home were domed.

    The poster above, who suggested that the Bills move to LA rather than make their new stadium comfortable for the paying fans, should be content to watch the LA surf board contests instead.

  13. I lived in Buffalo for 20+ years (1963 – 1985). There was nothing like going to a Bills game on a sunny (yet cool) Fall Sunday afternoon.

    Then there were the December games with the cold and snow. The goal for the day was a win and surviving the weather, not necessarily in that order.
    I returned to Buffalo for a visit in the late ’80s and watched the Saints defeat the Bills in 14 degree weather during a mini- blizzard.

    My heart is divided. I loved the naturalness of an open stadium, but I don’t think I would ever go to another game with temps below 32 degrees.

    Another note: In 1985 I moved to Arizona and prior to their new stadium I baked in 100+ degree temps watching the Cardinals.

    Neither weather extreme makes for good football watching.

  14. Aha and there goes the wink nod agreement btwn potential owner and developer. Obviously, he is stipulating that the taxpayers of Buffalo better get ready to pony up $$ for a new stadium.

  15. Fully enclosed domes kinda suck (the Superdome in NO for instance feels like a dank cave). But there’s nothing wrong with a retractable roof stadium. I love watching snowy games… on TV. But when I go to a Bills game it has to be warm enough outside or climate controlled inside.

  16. The Bills will stay in Buffalo, doesn’t matter if indoors or outdoors. They will never move to LA….place is a joke for a sports town. Here the LA Kings are in the Stanley Cup finals and Buffalo beats them out for ratings for the first game. Way to support your team LA, would be the same in football. Funny, the New York city area was first (Rangers) and Buffalo second for ratings for the 1st game. Goes to show you LA is no sports town.

  17. Football should be played outdoor in the elements. And this comes from a Dallas fan. If the team is winning then the real fans will fill up the seats.

  18. Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment are buying the Bills for 2.5 billion and WILL MOVE the Bills to Toronto. There is nothing anyone in Buffalo can do about this.

  19. Seems to me if they have a dome in Buffalo it had better be retractable. I’m not so sure a dome wouldn’t fall in with the kind of heavy snowfall in the region. After all some snow is fine just not you know 3 feet or more.

  20. Seriously, we are complaining about the possibility of having a dome in Buffalo??!! Id take a done any day than to risk the team leaving the city. Beggars can’t be choosers….

  21. And for the folks that think people don’t go to the games at the end of the year because of the snow, that’s not true. Bills have rarely been in playoff contention in December since 2001. If the Bills are fighting for a wild card in a blizzard, the place will be sold out and rocking

  22. How bout moving them to a market where they can actually start contributing to the revenue pool instead of living off the sharing? This is a business, not a geographical charity.

  23. My earlier post didn’t fully explore the economic benefits of a dome. One of the Bills’ biggest problems as a franchise is their lack of corporate sponsors. It would be a lot easier to attract corporate investment (advertising, luxury boxes, etc.) if the stadium can be used year round for multiple entertainment events. Buffalo needs all the money it can get and by building a new outdoor stadium, they would be leaving hundreds of millions of $$$ on the table.

  24. I am so of two minds about this. I loved watching football back in the day where it would be so muddy you couldn’t read the numbers on the Jersey’s. I ove watching the “element” games in cities like Buffalo, Green Bay, etc. I think the Vikings lost something going indoors.

    But … I get the domed stadium. I do love it when it’s just your best against their best and the elements are not the deciding factor. I get the need for the revenue IF you get an owner that really invests in a team.

    While I do miss the old games, sometimes the old way is just not the better way. And while I’d sure have no complaints if they keep it outdoors, I won’t complain either if they build a dome.

  25. I am an NFL season ticket holder in a cold weather city, and it always makes me laugh when I hear these folks gripe and whine about putting a roof on a stadium, saying that it will “ruin the tradition.” They are the ones sitting home on their couches in their 78 degree living rooms.

    I went to a game in Buffalo last year, and most of the fans were great. The stadium, however, is awful (half of the toilets didn’t work when we were there. You literally had to walk to the other side of the stadium to use the can). I hope they get a dome done, and I hope the Bills stay in Western New York.

  26. Seems to me if they have a dome in Buffalo it had better be retractable. I’m not so sure a dome wouldn’t fall in with the kind of heavy snowfall in the region. After all some snow is fine just not you know 3 feet or more.

    ===============================
    Syracuse has a dome (the Carrier Dome) and they get more snow most years than Buffalo does. Look it up…

  27. jpaq68 says: Jun 6, 2014 9:24 AM

    Not a chance. The deep pockets from Los Angeles can buy and sell Tom Golisano.
    …………………
    Looks like someone didn’t see the interview with LA’s top NFL reporter right here on PFT in which he told Florio it was “extremely unrealistic” that the Bills are moving to LA.

    Keep dreaming of the franchise you’re never going to get, because the NFL has way more leverage to threaten to move a team there than they do to ever actually move one.

  28. howabout not bellyaching about a dome and be happy that a buyer wants to keep the team there. he’s looking at the bottom line and locking the team into a lease for 20 more years. home field weather advantage is a myth,if your team is better on that day,you’ll win and i’m sure the first crappy day outside and you’re inside the domed stadium in a t-shirt eating a non-frozen hotdog,you won’t say “geeze,i wish the lake effect snow was howling through here”.

  29. kingcasper says: Jun 6, 2014 9:17 AM

    Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment are buying the Bills for 2.5 billion and WILL MOVE the Bills to Toronto. There is nothing anyone in Buffalo can do about this.
    ………………..
    You must not read the Toronto newspapers, considering just this week they published an article dedicated to how unlikely it would be that the NFL would approve the sale of the Bills to a Toronto group, particularly on such as MLS&E intent on moving it.

  30. Owners view fans as their personal ATM machines…nothing more. Domes blow. Owners spite the fans with them to maximize stadium dollars. That’s it.

  31. jpaq68 says:Jun 6, 2014 9:24 AM

    Not a chance. The deep pockets from Los Angeles can buy and sell Tom Golisano.
    _________________________________
    I’d stop worrying about the Bills and save up for airfare so you can travel to see your Jags play their home games in London.

  32. The Bills need a dome. Of the 8-10 games played each year, more than half are under either rain, snow, cold or wind. They blew their chance to build a dome in the 60’s, when Ralph balked-he could sit in his luxury box. The question is can the area afford it.
    Why doesn’t Warren Buffett step up and buy the Bills, put up a domed stadium , and put it in a perpetual trust so it never gets moved. He’s made hundreds of millions off his buying the Buffalo News and putting it’s competitor out of business and has a big GEICO operation with thousands of employees. He also owns a big piece of M&T Bank. Maybe it’s time he gave back to Buffalo.
    A lot of large companies provide hundreds of millions to their home cities or ones where they have large operations. Warren, it’s time you gave back instead of just taking.

  33. A dome in Buffalo would bring a Super Bowl to Western NY. Detroit and Minnesota have done the same thing. The amount of money brought in from two weeks of the Super Bowl and it’s coverage would be substantial. I don’t mind the outdoor games, but a dome would serve the Buffalo area better than an outdoor stadium.

  34. One name to remember…Danny Wegman.

    He is worth more than Tom Golisano, and he has always been a huge Bills fan.

    He is also very close with Jim Kelly.

    (And he’s from my hometown.)

  35. Translation – I’ll need to soak the city with bond issues and have a 30 year lease that I can break every year by April 1. Its going to be a top five stadium though!

  36. So what he is saying is that the city of Buffalo and the state of New York should be prepared to cough up several hundreds of millions (300-500) of dollars for a new stadium. Then they can hold the Super Bowl in Buffalo. Wouldn’t that be an exciting city to visit?

  37. As a Bills season ticket holder for 10 years (with lots of heartache) I ask WHY the Bills really NEED a new stadium. Give us a field, bathrooms and a parking lot to tailgate in, and we are happy. They’ve sold out for years with a totally subpar product on the field.

    Snow doesn’t bother us. If it did, we would not live in WNY. Call me old school, but football was meant to be played outside in the cold, snow, mud etc…

  38. Hold on to your wallets citizens of New York. The NFL will demand a new covered stadium paid for by YOU! They may even throw in the promise of a future Super Bowl. (Won’t happen).
    Beware Of Goodell Bearing Gifts!

  39. It could be if they did something with the water-front. Pittsburgh is a perfect example of a former steel industry city that has turned their water-front into store-fronts, bars, arts, and etc.

  40. Sounds like this multibillionaire is already calling for the city, county, and state taxpayers to build him a brand spanking new stadium at no cost to him at all.

  41. I like football in the elements as much as the next fan. But if this is what it takes to make a team in Buffalo economically viable, a dome is better than nothing.

  42. As a Colts season-ticket holder for over ten years, I can tell you that a retractable roof is an oustanding amenity. We no longer have to feel cooped up inside when the weather is great, and we don’t have to sit in the cold rain in early December. There’s nothing better than football on a clear, crisp October afternoon.

  43. Toronto would step up to the plate…its a bigger metropolis, an wold be a more attractive offer. Sheeesh, while we’re at it, L.A. would be nice too. No dome there….

  44. Let’s see how the Minny fans like sitting outside the next two years, then their reaction once the move into their new digs…

    A lot of Bills fans stating they dont want a dome… that would all change once they had a dome and realized how much nicer it is…

  45. It’s quite amusing to see the few people (an it’s always the same few) who troll every article on here about the future of the Bills and make snarky posts trying to suggest they know something the rest of us don’t, and that a sale of the Bills is inevitable.

    Really, though, all it takes is a simple google search to see that there is real evidence and quotes from people involved high up in the NFL indicating they believe the Bills have a place in Buffalo for the long term future. Even when asked about Toronto, they have corrected that notion by saying Buffalo. All agree, and even Goodell has stated, that we know they need a stadium to stay, but if they work that out, the Bills are in Buffalo for the long haul.

    Don’t believe me? That’s fine. Just search it on google. Go ahead. Meanwhile, any argument towards them leaving is always based 100% on speculation and 0% on concrete evidence.

  46. Goodell knows he can’t move the team, so his next best option is to make them build a new stadium. With the new stadium comes implicit promise that a SuperBowl will be played there the minute it’s opened.

    So the only question becomes making the dome retractable or not.

  47. Has anyone asked who is going to pay for a $700 million to 1.1 billion dollar dome in Buffalo?

    ~260,000 people live there.

    They shouldn’t build a dome because it’s expensive as hell. 1.1 billion would be over $4,000 per person.

  48. Let’s be done with the term “dome” please. Unless it’s the New Orleans Mercedes Benz Super Dome, the new indoor stadiums are “fixed roof”.

    Obviously a retractable roof stadium is the way to go. Indianapolis for instance, can open the roof on a cold late-season day just to mess with the opponent (Peyton Manning last season), who expected to play in a climate-controlled environment. Buffalo could do the same.

    But that feature is not cheap, and I’m sure the citizens of Indianapolis are paying for the Colts’ roof for years down the road. Not sure Buffalo would be so generous to the team’s new owner.

    I despise domes. I’d like nothing more than for them to be banned for professional sporting events. Still, the Bills will not have a “dome”. If they play indoors, it’ll be a fixed roof stadium, similar to Ford Field, which is an attractive stadium, in my opinion.

  49. Adding a dome takes away the competitive advantage in weather Buffalo has, the same as Green Bay or any other northern team.

    The Bills were unbeatable at home when teams had to come into Orchard Park and play on a frozen, paper-thin astro turf that only Bills were used to. Build a newer, smaller stadium so $65K die-hards can fill it up every Sunday.

  50. Our grandchildren will watch computer-animated players (they can’t sue) in virtual football games (no stadiums need be built with public money) via microchips that are implanted in our brains (courtesy of the NFL/NSA). Ahhh, progress.

  51. I’m willing to bet that the dome statement is more about having a Super Bowl in Western N.Y. than anything else. Look at Minnesota.

  52. As a Bills season ticket holder for 10 years (with lots of heartache) I ask WHY the Bills really NEED a new stadium. Give us a field, bathrooms and a parking lot to tailgate in, and we are happy. They’ve sold out for years with a totally subpar product on the field.

    Snow doesn’t bother us. If it did, we would not live in WNY. Call me old school, but football was meant to be played outside in the cold, snow, mud etc…

    ————————————————-
    Dude, I’ve been in the following NFL Stadiums: M&T Bank Stadium (my home stadium), Heinz Field (PIT), First Energy Stadium (CLE), Bank of America Stadium (CLT), LP Field (NSH), The Georgia Dome (ATL), the OLD Giants Stadium (NY), Sun Life Stadium (MIA), FedEx Field (WAS), Lincoln Financial Field (PHL), and Ralph Wilson Stadium (BUF). The Ralph is, by far, the worst. The Georgia Dome is being abandoned, and IT’S better than the Ralph. Go to a road game and your opinion will change…and quick.

  53. Weather is a huge buffalo advantage.

    But by the looks of this of they want a new stadium they will want a dome or retractable roof. I’m glad Cincy didn’t go retractable roof.

    But then if your gonna dome buffalo might as well move to LA

  54. If i was a Bulls fan i would be more concern and worried about the team staying in Buffalo than a potential owner wanting to keep the team in Buffalo but building a dome. So potentially choose which one you want your team possibly leaving Buffalo or being able to continue going to a Bills game in Buffalo but just in a dome

  55. New stadium or not, Buffalo is NOT going to get a Super Bowl. Only a few cities meet the criteria, and I’m not even talking about weather. Think hotel rooms, logistics, and local corporate support.

  56. A) The Bills (or any other NFL team) are NEVER moving to Toronto. I’ve been to several games there, and the people could not care less about the NFL. Would you care if a CFL game was played in your city?

    B) Many Bills fans go to Syracuse football games. They have a dome. We know what one is like.

  57. Yeah I’m guessing all you Bill’s fans would hate having the Super Bowl. Something that would never be considered in the present stadium!!!!

  58. dan7800:
    Been a season ticket holder since 1993. There is nothing wrong with The Ralph -esp. after the new facelift. Even a new stadium will not guarantee a Super Bowl – lack of required hotel rooms.
    The worst weather was the Raider playoff game in 1994- 0 degrees- and the place was packed. I really don’t remember any weather problems until Dec.
    I do remember sunburn in November!!
    BTW: Giant Stadium is overrated as is the Linc , Tampa Bay and esp. Candlestick.
    Leave The Ralph alone!!!

  59. There’s already a proposal for a stadium with a retractable roof on Buffalo’s waterfront. Why doesn’t Golisano pick up the phone and connect with those guys?

    The Ralph won’t cut it. Pushing that the Bills should continue to play there is the same as waving goodbye to NFL football in Buffalo. Goodell said it himself. It’s in the best interest of the residents of Buffalo to get behind the best proposal and make it their own. The clock is ticking.

  60. Everything about this article is well put & is exactly what you’d want to hear if your a Bills fan.

    They do need a new stadium. I will 100% need a dome, but they should also go for the retractable roof.

    The dome is what would solidify Buffalo with a SuperBowl after the fact. (an’t wait for that announcement after all the Minnesota griping.)

    The retractable roof will help the stadium not look like an outdated eyesore like Minnesota’s previous stadium.

    The rendering of what was the rumored ‘Billls new stadium’ that bleacher-report posted a couple years ago had a retractable roof, so this article is very encouraging. Ownership that keeps the team in place with a new doomed stadium is win-win, or like stated above it would otherwise turn into a lose-lose. Spot on!

    Anything under 80,ooo seats would be a disappointment though.

  61. Why waste good waterfront (FINALLY being developed correctly) on a big building used fractionally, creating parking needs that wastes more space?? Tailgating would be OVER!! The hockey arena already serves the multi-pupose use and it works well….

  62. I love the Ralph!!! Snow games RULE! It will take ten years to get a new stadium built,it will be a retractable roof. They will play out the lease at the Ralph and close the doors on the place. Bills will stay in Buffalo and everyone lives happily ever after. The End…………….?

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