The Buffalo Bills‘ stadium is getting $130 million in renovations at the end of this season, and the Buffalo News is ON IT! About how “like a football player at age 40, Ralph Wilson Stadium needs reconstructive surgery”! About how the renovations will “make the aging facility more fan-friendly”! How in place of nine entry gates there will be six “super gates” with more entry lanes and video boards so you can watch highlights while you have your non-clear plastic bags rejected for entry! How there will be a “huge new Bills Store” and 22 percent more restroom space!
And who will be paying for all this? Let’s see, scroll down, scroll down, here we go:
jointly funded by New York State, Erie County and the Bills
Okay, how much from each party, exactly? Scroll down, scroll down — really, Buffalo News? I have to do everything myself? Well, fine:
Under the proposed lease, the state [and county] would immediately pay $94.5 million toward renovations of Ralph Wilson Stadium, which is less than the $200 million that the Bills owners asked for earlier this year. The state would also be on the hook, though, for $132.3 million in operating subsidies over the next ten years.
Bills owner Ralph Wilson, meanwhile, will pay a grand total of $35.455 million toward the stadium improvements, about 27% of the total cost, and an amount that he’ll easily earn back in the first three years of “operating subsidies,” not to mention whatever new revenue he gets from the Bills store and the like. (Of course he doesn’t have to share any of this money with his public partners — why would he agree to something silly like that?) New York state taxpayers, meanwhile — including those nowhere near Buffalo, like, say, me — will be on the hook for most of the rest.
Still, I suppose $227 million isn’t an outrageous sum, as these things go, to keep the Bills in town for … let’s see … ten years? Counting the current season, so really nine years. And starting after the 2019 season, the Bills can break the lease by paying just $28.4 million, so it’s really just a six-year guarantee, after which Wilson (or more likely his heirs, since the man is 94 years old) will be free to take his money and run. But who really can put a price on roomier restrooms?