Clock ticks on Bills stadium deal

Washington Football Team v Buffalo Bills
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April Fool’s Day is coming. It’s perhaps a fitting deadline for a New York budget that is expected to devote a whopping $1 billion in taxpayer money for a new Bills stadium.

The New York Times takes a closer look at the situation, the latest example of the tension between doing whatever it takes to keep a professional football team and telling billionaires to pay for their own stuff. New York Governor Kathy Hochul has said that she expects a stadium deal to be in place before April 1, the deadline for finalizing the state’s budget. Per the Times, however, the details regarding the more-public-than-private financing project remain scarce and elusive.

The balance for Hochul remains a delicate one. If no deal is done and the Bills move to some other place that will do that same deal (or even perhaps a better one), she’ll take a major political hit. If she’s perceived as giving away free money to people who already have more than enough of it, she’ll take a major political hit.

Some think the team’s owners, Terry and Kim Pegula, are bluffing about the possibility of relocating, if they don’t get what they want. It could be, however, that their stance is more promise than threat. They’ve opted to give New York and Erie County every opportunity to do a deal before exploring other options. If/when they have to explore other opportunities, they won’t be looking for other offers to shop back to Buffalo. They’ll be looking for a new home for their team.

That’s the risk of not doing the current deal. The Pegulas may say, “You had your chance. Bye.”

The Raiders found Las Vegas, which footed the bulk of the bill for a new stadium. The Bills could find another city equally willing to do what Erie County and New York may not.

That’s why Hochul is hustling to do a deal. For every city that draws a line in the sands of taxpayer money, another locale will be throwing buckets of cash at the possibility of hosting an NFL franchise.

For any city or state trying to keep or lure a team with public funds, there’s one simple reality that reflects the disconnect between politicians and their constituencies. If/when any of these measures would be put on a ballot, they would fail miserably.

So why do the people elected by those same voters keep coughing up taxpayer money? It really makes no sense. Then again, neither did a monorail in Springfield.

46 responses to “Clock ticks on Bills stadium deal

  1. Taxpayers should only foot the bill if the stadium is owned entirely by the county or state and leased to the team. Naming rights, revenue from other events, etc. goes to the public entity that owns the stadium, too.

  2. Winning solves a lot of things and even getting to the superbowl too … but how good will the team be when its opening day in the new digs as the folks in the nosebleed seats had to pay twice !!

  3. Does the state actually recoup any of that one billion through taxes or other use options? Or has the league just convinced them that their investment is just for the privilege?

  4. Their net worth, which included the value of the team, is about what a new stadium would probably cost. I mean they aren’t going to put cash down for a new stadium, they would have to sell the team to pay for it.

  5. The thing is, the new location will have to build a stadium too. And seek public financing as long as the Pegulas are owners. That process hasn’t even started. I’d say NY has plenty of time to milk it’s taxpayers.

  6. Buffalo currently has a great QB and a great team. It should be an easy con for the owners to get a deal done.

  7. Rich people always finding ways not to spend their own money. Weird thing is some people are okay giving their money away so the rich can buy more properties and yachts.

  8. I wish I was super wealthy so I could take taxpayers money instead of risking my own to increase my wealth.

  9. Buffalo is a great town as far as their FANS, and their fans love of their team go, but as far as the NFL experience is concerned, and the extra curricular activities that come with a great road trip are concerned it’s horrible. If you’ve ever driven there you know exactly what I’m talking about, and if you’ve ever stayed there for more than a single night you know exactly what I’m talking about. They should move and build a state of the art indoor facility if they ever wanna a shot at hosting a Superbowl, or an NCAA tournament, or anything stadium related for that matter

  10. If the Pegulas can’t afford to pay for a stadium or at otherwise too cheap then the league should force them to sell the team. In fact this should be the expectation for ownership moving forward.

  11. Maybe if they throw in a monorail as part of the deal, taxpayers will feel they’re getting something useful for their money.

  12. The County will own the stadium and local taxpayers will recoup their share of the initial outlay through the team’s lease fees, which is the same setup that exists currently.

    The state probably never gets their money back, but the expenditure is a drop in the bucket considering how big NY’s budget is. Less than 0.5% of the budget for just one budget year.

  13. Well if the team does move, there will be a LONG list of cities that will land the franchise before Toronto. Who knew, you actually have to make it look like you enjoy football? Decades of people claiming Toronto will get an NFL franchise. Never gonna happen.

  14. Every taxpayer’s $ for the stadium is missing in the community. If an owner couldn’t afford to build a stadium, sell the team. Instead buy a soccer team.

  15. do taxpayers get a break on tickets, food, beer, parking….
    im guessing no.

  16. First, the stadium will be owned by Erie County and leased to the Bills. The Bills will keep all revenue, including naming rights, concessions and parking. The point that no one will talk about is that the state will recoup most of its outlay in constructing the stadium, most in the form of payroll taxes over the life of the lease. Just using the 2022 salary cap, players’ salaries will generate nearly $500 million dollars over the 30-year lease. That does not take into account increases in the salary cap, which there surely will be. It also doesn’t take into account sales taxes generated over the life of the lease, or payroll taxes for coaches or administration employees. Will the state get the entire $1 billion back? Probably not. But it will surely get more money back as a percentage of the program cost than nearly every other expenditure in the 2022-2023 state budget.

  17. Why do taxpayers pay for some (uber wealthy) business owners’ expenses? They didn’t for mine when it went under last year!!! And frankly, how about putting that $1B towards the small businesses that didn’t go under but which are still struggling? What, the Pegulas need a bigger yacht in Florida or something? I know I know, it’s awfully cramped on that “small” one that they have and Kim has a lifestyle to maintain. We get it! Y-A-W-N!!!

    If the taxpayers are made to pay for the business expense, then they should be paid dividends from the profits!!

    Pretty damn simple!

  18. This is already a done deal for those in the area reporting on it. Florio is just stirring the pot.

  19. Once the Rams turned down public money to build a privately financed facility in L.A., every government should have gotten the message from the NFL: “We’re good. We don’t need public money, we just want it. But if it doesn’t serve our purposes or the rules we break, forget it.” NO public entity should ever pay for the majority of an NFL Stadium ever again.

  20. Take a deep breath . It’s gonna get done despite what the article says. Scuttlebutt has it it will be soon.

  21. wingswbluecheese says:
    March 27, 2022 at 4:34 pm
    This is already a done deal for those in the area reporting on it. Florio is just stirring the pot.

    billsfan1956 says:
    March 27, 2022 at 4:40 pm
    Take a deep breath . It’s gonna get done despite what the article says. Scuttlebutt has it it will be soon.

    You guys do realize that they’ve been saying this since October, right?

    At least four times now since then the sources claiming that have told us that “by the end of [that] week we’d hear about a deal.” Hasn’t happened. OP politicians know of nothing.

    This threat is real.

  22. The new york budget is 216 billion dollars. The team is asking for 0.004% of the budget. Just imagine the long term effect if the Bills leave and no stadium is built. Lost jobs, lost tourism revenue (football games and outdmside events).is such a small percentage worth it?

  23. The Analytical Kid says:
    March 27, 2022 at 5:03 pm
    wingswbluecheese says:
    March 27, 2022 at 4:34 pm
    This is already a done deal for those in the area reporting on it. Florio is just stirring the pot.

    billsfan1956 says:
    March 27, 2022 at 4:40 pm
    Take a deep breath . It’s gonna get done despite what the article says. Scuttlebutt has it it will be soon.

    You guys do realize that they’ve been saying this since October, right?

    At least four times now since then the sources claiming that have told us that “by the end of [that] week we’d hear about a deal.” Hasn’t happened. OP politicians know of nothing.

    This threat is real

    No it’s not. Owners are fully committed to getting it done. They’ve showed no interest in moving . It’s being held up for now by the impending state budget. All this doom and gloom is just media hype. The politicians and Pegulas have been dead silent which ,means they’re negotiating. I’ve seen this movie before

  24. Lost tourism? Niagara Falls has 8 million visitor each year and it’s only 20 miles from Buffalo.

  25. You’ve seen the same list of cities “that can support an NFL team” that I have over and over. But do any of them really have a plan to land an NFL team at this point? Location-financing-political support, etc.? I haven’t heard that St. Louis or San Antonio or any of the others really could step in and grab an available team at this point.

  26. Welcome to the Gary, Indiana Bills! New stadium off the 80/94 in the NWI up next!

  27. All these fans saying no way tax money shouldn’t go to building these stadiums, you know if they owned the team they’d feel differently. I absolutely believe county, city, state should pay for it. Maybe even all of it. You want an NFL franchise in your city? Ante up. You can’t put a price tag on having an NFL team there. Too many reasons to list but make no mistake, cities and counties and states make money annually on it and you can’t quantify the pride a citizen feels who has his beloved team there. And look, if I had to list all the places our tax dollars go, well, I’d have it go to a stadium to keep our team then sent to foreign countries.

  28. Might want to tread lightly. Maryland and the District have already said they don’t want the Commanders and won’t fund any of the new stadium.

    One Rep: ” Tell Mr. Snyder to sell his yacht to pay for his stadium”

  29. One Billion isn’t that big a deal for the state of NY. So much going on in the world and NYC that Hochul’s yay or nay isn’t going to alter her career. People from ‘downstate’ have the votes to decide who is governor. Pataki was the last republican but he was from Putnam County…again, downstate rules since day 1.

    If the downstate people knew this was going on (they don’t) it would be a huge NO. These billionaires got wealthier during the pandemic (oh surprise) while the rest of us just keep paying for their bubble of a world.

    Western NY might as well be Canada for us down here. Nothing against them personally, just a different world. But I don’t want to pay for their team.

  30. How many new stadiums and arenas has NYC got? The Bills better gets theirs! Western NY deserves it.
    It would be a MUCh bigger political hit for Hochul if the Bills left I can guarantee that.

  31. I agree that taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for stadiums…but lets’ be real. Losing the Bills would be devastating to the city of Buffalo. Another city will be happy to have them, and they won’t think twice about the cost of the stadium. I know, it sucks, but that is the reality. At least the Pegulas put a large chunk of their money into the WNY area. I really hope they get this done. Our tax money goes for all sorts of things that a large number of us as individual garner no benefit from…or we don’t really care about. The Bills are good for Buffalo.

  32. I would love to see a breakdown of these deals. I think the term lease is a deceptive one here. In Cincinnati for example the county was paying the Bengals almost $30 million a year for operations costs. I can’t find anything that says the Bengals are actually paying any money to use the stadium that they “leased” from county tax payers. Bengals get naming rights, get to decide who else can use the stadium, etc. I’d be fine with the county buying the stadium if they had actual control over it, could use it to generate revenue more than 9 times per year, etc.

  33. State of NY is owed $800M from unpaid taxes. Use the unpaid taxes plus interest and penalties to pay for the stadium and give citizens a tax rebate.

  34. Kanye (a.k.a. Ye) is worth ~$6 Billion. He said he’s interested in buying the team and would keep it in Buffalo.

  35. Disgusting that billionaires whine until they get their way and the loyal fans get screwed by them.

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