The saber-rattling over the new Buffalo Bills stadium officially has begun

Buffalo Bills v Pittsburgh Steelers
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When the Buffalo News first lit the fuse on the possibility of future relocation by the Bills due to the potential inability to strike a public-private deal on a new stadium, the first reaction by many was to deny the obvious or to downplay it.

They’re negotiating, many insisted.

And while that’s right, no good negotiation can happen without leverage. For the Bills, the leverage comes from a potential relocation. That’s been obvious from the get-go.

It’s now becoming more obvious. Although the initial story from the Buffalo News expressly stated that the team had made “no overt threats” to leave town, something far closer to an overt threat has happened.

Pegula Sports and Entertainment spokesman Jim Wilkinson made some strong comments to WIVB-TV on Tuesday, making it clear that the stadium negotiations are indeed occurring with a clear “or else” in mind.

“The Pegulas have made a proposal,” Wilkinson said. “They would like to build it right there [in Orchard Park] and we need to hear back. You can’t really do plans and designs on things until you have a deal, and right now the City of Buffalo and the State [of New York] are going to have to decide if they want a team.”

They are going to have to decide if they want a team. That’s a direct quote from the person hired by Bills ownership to say things on their behalf.

Wilkinson also said that the Pegulas want to build a new stadium across the street from the current one, in Orchard Park. Wilkinson reiterated the notion that further renovation of the current facility makes no sense.

“It would cost 500 million [dollars] to replace the upper deck,” Wilkinson said. “It would cost a lot of money to replace the electrical systems and the water systems, which are many decades now out of date. It would be about a billion dollars to renovate the stadium — and not only is that unrealistic and not wise, it’s just not going to happen.”

It remains to be seen whether a new stadium is going to happen in Buffalo. It’s definitely going to happen somewhere. For the first time, the Pegulas (through their paid spokesman) have sent a clear message to the world that, if they don’t get what they want — i.e., if the public officials in and around Buffalo decide they don’t want a team — the Pegulas will take the team to a place that does.

67 responses to “The saber-rattling over the new Buffalo Bills stadium officially has begun

  1. That is the same line the Spanos took with the city of San Diego. The San Diego taxpayers voted overwhelmingly to not give a billionaire public money. The question now is what will the Buffalo government and citizens do (if it comes to a vote)?

  2. San Antonio Rustlers? St. Louis River Dogs? London Chippers? The Pegula family will have several suitors. Probably already do. Buffalo/New York will have to pony up big time.

  3. Pay for your city’s only real national attraction, or visit it in a nearby city, in a nearby country?

  4. We will overwhelmingly vote to let them leave. The hell with giving free money to a billionaire. Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out.

  5. As much as I love NFL, I hate seeing billionaires trying to stick it to the taxpayer…

  6. Probably could start a list of viable alternatives to Buffalo for relocation.
    St. Louis, Birmingham, Portland, Toronto, perhaps Mexico City???

  7. San Antonio makes the most sense as they already have a dome stadium they can play in until a new one is built.

  8. There are those who are going to say that some desperate city somewhere will build the Bills for free to relocate. To those I say, you are dreaming.

    The Las Vegas stadium was 40% public money and they aren’t asking the Tax payers to pay for it. They are making the tourists pay for it.

    SOFI stadium in CA, 100% privately financed.

    The Bills need to find another city who is willing to be a patsy to have any leverage, and i don’t think it’s out there. It didn’t help when they threw out a city name that had no idea what the Bills were talking about.

    Public officials would give billionaires taxpayer money for no return should be jailed. Numerous reports have shown that the tax paying public does not recover that money in taxes and revenue. It’s sure nice to have a football team when the roads can’t be repaired and city hall is crying about not having enough money.

  9. The ownership is a joint deal between the city and the owner. If the owner leaves the city loses out on so much dough. Buffalo better come to the table big time for this team.

  10. While it does sound asinine to help fund a billionaire’s stadium with public money, people often forget about the economic impact home games have on the local economy. This is what local officials have to weigh. Is having 8 or 9 home games every year, with the revenues those games will generate for local business, plus the playoffs potentially now that the Bills have a good team, worth ponying up money for a stadium? They’ll also have to consider the public outcry from Bills Mafia… which could be a sight to see!

  11. All these comments from losers saying, give taxpayer dollars to billionaires, if that’s all they got, they clearly are small minded and very limited. Buffalo and New York aren’t required to help fund a stadium. Not at all. The Bills aren’t required to remain there either. Those who say no help to billionaires I assume are ok with government handing their tax dollars to ridiculous groups way less deserving. The government prints money to simply give it away to lazy people and to people who don’t even belong here legally. The billions given away to con artists masquerading as green energy companies is astounding. They have nothing to show for it outside of telling their followers they are fighting global warming. I’m all for tax dollars going to something cool, an awesome stadium.

  12. I think people have finally started to get fed up with the extortion attempts that owners attempt on the taxpayers . Once again the idea that the fans matter is proven to be a myth . Thinking if I’m Buffalo I respond that they will do whatever they can within the ” law ” to make it as costly and problematic for the Bills for the rest of their stay unless an amicable deal is reached . Buffalo and New York have the power through a joint effort to make the Bills ownership realize that aren’t the only ones who can make enforceable threats of dire consequences if a deal isn’t made.

  13. Funny how so many more people are ok with “socialism” when it’s for billionaires.

  14. 8-9 home games per year provides very, very little economic benefit when compared to the billions that must be paid for a new stadium. Totally not worth it. Want a new stadium? Built it yourself

  15. The earth is literally burning up, and Billionaires want more tax dollars, more public money for their business’.Enough already. When they run out of water out in the western part of our nation, thank God they will have sports teams, otherwise what would they do.

  16. These owners are going a bit too far with this. I get it if you want the city/state to foot half the bill but wow, to expect them to fully fund your stadium? Yeah… that’s asking for a bit much (a lot much)

  17. what was it? 20 consecutive non playoff seasons & you threaten to leave now that they’ve finally are relevant again? poverty billionaires can pay for their own stadium.

  18. Bob Kraft in Foxboro played this game of chicken over 20 years ago and lost. He used Hartford, CT as the leverage and when that deal died he had to pay for the stadium with his own money. Problem is the building cost is much different today. This is a serious threat. Who is going to blink?

  19. Should the Pegulas elect to relocate I am not sure their options will be as great as they think. Dallas and Houston are NOT going to let them relocate to San Antonio, Canada and Mexico are unsure as it relates to Covid protocols, it is my understanding that St Louis is no longer interested in a relocated team, Portland and Birmingham are long shots at best. Maybe London but getting the NFLPA to go along could be tough due to the time zone factors. Can you see the 49ers/Rams/Seahhawks/Cardinals traveling to London for a game and the broadcast problems to deal with?

  20. So the Bills need Buffalo to foot the bills. Or they will shuffle-o on out of Buffalo. Maybe it’s on to Toronto. Hmmm.

  21. Besides St Louis with their current crappy stadium I don’t see to many other cities willing or have the funds to kick in a billion dollars or so to help build a stadium. Maybe Salt Lake City Utah, Portland is a civil warzone and like most West Coast cities (hello LA) simply there are not enough into football to fill 70,000 seats, anywhere in Texas Jerry and the Texans will block, Orlando Jags already can’t draw enough fans, London do the bills pay for other team’s travel costs, Maybe Toronto, Oakland and San Diego already played their cards of no-way…it will be hard to find a city that has enough revenue and people to pay for a stadium and football team Ney York and Buffalo should call their bluff especially since the NFL can no longer use LA as the bargaining chip.

  22. Biggest scam on the public was/is when pro sports teams attached City/State names to a private business.

    We’re all suckers!!!

  23. The Vikes didnt try to leave the state but the Wilfs tried to leave Minneapolis with a nice piece of property just north, plenty of parking, room for a shopping mall and a nice Viking pro shop ets, similar to what the packers have going. They had positions on the land and in order for Minneapolis to keep the Vikes, of course not only did they pony up to the bar big time, they agreed to a covered stadium and not open air that the Wiffs were willing to build.
    The state and city used Lotto ticket sales, a .01 tax on all sales in the Twin Cities and of course the Wilfts put a bundle into it as well to have ownership.

  24. Im a Bills fan, and all I think when I hear “how devastated Buffalo would be if the Bills left” is, I pity people that base either their livelihood or their own personal level of joy on something as silly as a football team. I watch the Bills faithfully every Sunday. Make it out to about one game a year, and if they moved TODAY, my life wouldn’t suffer one bit. Im all for sharing the cost, but a totally funded stadium, not a chance

  25. In Indy there was no vote for the taxpayers. A small group called the capital improvement board made that decision. The taxes are paid by the county the stadium resides in but the people who actually can afford to buy tickets live in a different county. That county is a wealthy county who doesn’t have to pay taxes for it. On top of all that the Colts get all revenue from food/drinks as well as a large cut of revenue from conventions. For those that think it’s cool to give tax dollars to billionaires, please read the fine print.

  26. eagleswin says:
    August 18, 2021 at 10:10 am
    There are those who are going to say that some desperate city somewhere will build the Bills for free to relocate. To those I say, you are dreaming.

    The Las Vegas stadium was 40% public money and they aren’t asking the Tax payers to pay for it. They are making the tourists pay for it.

    ———————————————————————————–
    Youre right about tourists paying for it, but those taxed dollars could still be going to something more useful than a stadium. Especially in that town where there is no shortage of entertainment.

  27. Both parties always ask for more than they are looking for in a negotiation. Eventually they will find middle ground and a deal will get done. Terry and Kim are from the area and have no intentions of moving. They are looking the best possible deal. Big over reaction here.

  28. When we eat the rich, the billionaire owners who moved their teams are going to be among the first to be eaten.

  29. “Pay for your city’s only real national attraction, or visit it in a nearby city, in a nearby country?”

    Uh, I heard they have another tourist attraction there. Some kind of waterfall?

  30. The Bills have a strong enough following (like the Browns) where if the team moves, they would be an expansion team within 2-5 years, just like the Browns. The Pegulas look pretty horrible right now. I realize that this is a business but they aren’t very good at owning a hockey team and they should sell it to make up the money for a new stadium here. The only ones losing out are the Pegulas and their image.

  31. Austin will take the team. Maybe don’t realize Austin is the 11th largest city in the USA. A NFL team being located in your City also adds a lot of revenue to a City, so there is vested interest for the City to add to its tax base, not just the Billionaire’s pocket.

  32. Lucas Oil was built for $750 mil and is one of the top stadiums in the NFL.
    These multi billion dollar places are a waste of money.

  33. Toronto, Portland, San Jose, St. Louis, San Diego – there are plenty of cities out there and no shortage of billionaires who want the prestige of owning a team. Buffalo taxpayers deserve responsible local government.

  34. Lawrence Urbano says:
    August 18, 2021 at 10:48 am
    Bob Kraft in Foxboro played this game of chicken over 20 years ago and lost. He used Hartford, CT as the leverage and when that deal died he had to pay for the stadium with his own money. Problem is the building cost is much different today. This is a serious threat. Who is going to blink?
    ====================================
    Kraft got exactly what he wanted, using Hartford for leverage. He didnt want to leave Foxboro, but he had to be willing to in order to get the upgrades around the stadium. He paid for the stadium himself, which was always the plan. What he wanted from MA was to upgrade the infrastructure around the stadium. And they did. Sounds like a win to me.

  35. It seems to me that the NFL model is not sustainable if they need public money to function. They need to figure out a whole new way of doing it. A 1 billion+ dollar stadium to host 240 games over 30 years. That is over 4 million dollars per game. That just can’t work in perpetuity.

  36. Imagine if people cared about what the government actually wastes money on.

    People look the other was at these trillion dollar bills they get 0 out of… but are worried about 1 billion where they actually get something they’d use.

    This is a drop in the bucket compared to what your “okay” with that they spend

  37. crush22 says:
    August 18, 2021 at 12:00 pm
    Lucas Oil was built for $750 mil and is one of the top stadiums in the NFL.

    —-

    Compared to most modern stadiums, Lucas Oil is 2nd rate. Of course hanging participation banners doesn’t help

  38. Until localities have the cojones to tell their teams to pay for their shiny new stadium themselves, team owners are going to hold their cities hostage. Come on – these people are multi-billionaires. Dig into your pockets and do it yourself.

  39. I love how everyone is willing to use taxpayer dollars to fund every stupid idea on the planet but money for something fun is totally out of the question. The dimwit voters in San Diego took their stand against “money for billionaires” and lost their team. The proposal in San Diego, btw, made way too much sense for the common voter. A split 3 ways between the “billionaire owners”, the NFL, and the city funded through tourist taxes. Well, now the Chargers rot in LA and no one wins.

  40. I know this is a money move by the ownership. But one has to think that no matter WHERE they move that team, they would be hard pressed to find a more loyal and RABBID base of fans than right there in Buffalo for THAT team. Just IMO.

  41. There will be even more saber rattling when the Patriots return to their throne atop the AFC east in 2021. Long Live the Dynasty

  42. Holding the taxpayers hostage again. The pile of money can never be big enough for many people.

  43. “When we eat the rich, the billionaire owners who moved their teams are going to be among the first to be eaten.”

    ________________________________________________

    Yep.

    I have Spanos #1 on the menu.

  44. Just gonna guess that the Sabres might have a few issues with selling tickets if the owner up and moved a team that the city actually cares about.

  45. NO ONE thinks of Buffalo when they think of Niagara Falls. NO ONE. Heck, we went up through Ontario to Toronto just to avoid NW NY.

  46. If owners want public funds to go towards building their stadiums the least they could do is make tickets more affordable. For the average Joe who helped pay for that stadium

  47. Boy it would be a shame for that fanbase to lose the Bills. I bet the city/state cave.

  48. Oakland is without a team. They’ve even got a baseball stadium to play football games.

  49. Why should tax payers have to pay to keep millionaires happy? No public funds should be used to build a stadium or the Bills, build it with their own money!!! Or give the taxpayers a piece of the action.

  50. Lowest ticket prices, little to no corporate box purchases, no PSL…and now this. Bon Jovi had a vision and got fried for for being transparent. Love the Bills in Buffalo but somebody needs to pay up, free times are over.

  51. Just a feeling the Pegulas decided now they want a new stadium EXACTLY NOW that the Bills are perhaps a legit Super Bowl contender….Hmmmmmmm…..meaning, there would likely be many cities and new fan bases that would love to pay for the Bills to move wherever… kinda reminds me of when the Browns moved to Baltimore, became the Ravens, then won a Super Bowl. Hmmmmmmmmm…… I really wonder what Bills Mafia folks would actually think of laying out more tax money for a billionaire, when the team they hate, the Dolphins, has an owner who paid for the stadium renovations on his own dime! Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

  52. I have an idea! Sell the team to Warren Buffett, move them to Omaha, and re-name them the Dollar Bills!

  53. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: The Rams and Chargers had to pay $650 million moving fees to relocate their teams. It would probably be more now. That figure should be the starting point for the Pegula’s contribution toward the stadium.

    The NFL shouldn’t let owners play these games with cities and fans. It’s just ugly.

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