by Pat Freeman
The recent disclosure by Buffalo Bills CEO Russ Brandon further validates my earlier presentation which I cited that any Renovations to 40 year old Ralph Wilson Stadium would exceed more than $200 million. My question to all elected representatives involved in these negotiations would be why the lack of consideration to a new stadium located in downtown Buffalo ? How can you justify the allocation of vital investment dollars into a facility that is used no more than ten times a year? The landscape that is shifting is more responsible use of tax dollars that will help stimulate stagnant economies.
Freeman presents argument for a new downtown stadium in Council Chamber on 4/10 (photo- Channel 7 footage).
Let’s take a look at the Louisiana Superdome renovation project after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Since the first phase of the renovation was completed in 2006 the fiscal impact has been $4.1 billion to the Louisiana economy. The Saints Lease with the renovated Mercedes Benz Superdome runs through 2025, and by its end the Superdome will return 58 times the investment to the State of Louisiana .
Fema- $156 Million (Fema Eligible repairs including roof and aluminum siding
State of Louisiana – $121 million (includes 2010 $85 million in enhancement upgrades.
LSED Bonds-$44 million (from refinanced LSED bonds post Katrina)
NFL- $15 million (non reimbursable funding grant from the NFL
Total- $336 million
From this example of the renovation of a stadium and its relationship to its NFL franchise I must ask the question of why are the Bills and the county only discussing a 10 year lease with such a request of public outlay. When you compare it to the New Orleans Saints who agreed to a minimum of 15 years running from 2010-2025 it seems the Bills are not being fair to the taxpayers of western New York . The Buffalo Bills have had two leases with the county and the stadium in Orchard Park, New York 25, and 15 years respectively, which includes a modification of the lease in 2008 giving the Bills permission to move eight games north of the border to Toronto for more than $76 million, plus they still received their game operational cost from Erie County of some $925,000 per game even though these games would not be in Ralph Wilson stadium.
In Closing of this Part III to No More Renovations To Ralph Wilson stadium we must ask the question of why are those that are negotiating this new lease so entrenched on the idea of keeping the Bills home games in a stadium that can only be used for part of the year in a stadium which would only be used 10 times a year? Why not explore what would be the economic impact of a stadium that would be part of our convention project of Erie County and Western New York ? Most people agree that 40 years ago it was mistake to move that stadium to Orchard Park , New York , and we have a chance to correct this error by building a multi-use stadium in downtown Buffalo . Vote Here at the bullet (top right margin) and at www.wufoam.com (Scroll down left margin) should a stadium be built in downtown Buffalo .
If you enjoy talking about the world of sports tune into the number#1 sports show in the nation every Saturday from 12PM-1PM hosted by WUFO Sports Director Patrick Freeman on 1080AM WUFO radio or via the internet at www.wufoam.com. Or catch Sports Update for clbTV (ch.20 Buffalo) and YouTube. Also join us for the number#1 recap show every Monday at 7:25AM with Lee Pettigrew, and The Mighty O’Ba Pat Freeman.