Buffalo op-ed says new Bills owners could threaten selves with moving team

Yesterday’s Buffalo News had an op-ed by an economic development consultant about building a new Bills stadium, and “op-ed by an economic development consultant” should tell you all you need to know about it. But I just want to call attention to it to show how op-eds can make it into the newspaper without making a damn bit of sense. Follow the bouncing logic here:

The Bills’ new owner will likely have to come up with at least $1 billion. The average NFL team is worth $1.17 billion, according to a 2013 Forbes analysis.

Yes, NFL teams are super expensive, because they’re super valuable. Even in Buffalo.

Once a deal is struck and the NFL approves, the new owner will have to deal with the expensive – and politically sensitive – issue of a new stadium.

Okay, “need” is a bit strong, since the Bills’ current stadium is already getting $130 million in taxpayer-funded renovations, but certainly if they want a new stadium they’ll need to deal with the politics of it.

But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants more. He told ESPN that without a new stadium, the Bills might leave.

Oh, okay, so if the new Bills owners don’t get a new stadium, then the team might get moved … by the new Bills owners. So they totally have to deal with this, because there’s nothing so awful as spending $1 billion on an NFL team and then having your own self threaten to move the team out from under you.

There is a teeny point here somewhere, which I suppose would go something like “Whoever buys the Bills for $1 billion is going to want to maximize their profits, and the best way to do that might be to move the team to a bigger market, even though market size in the NFL doesn’t matter much and there are no huge markets with NFL stadiums ready to go, and Roger Goodell will stand behind them on any such threat.” But that’s not what this op-ed says at all, which makes you wonder who at the Buffalo News is bothering to vet submissions for making any damn sense. Unless, I suppose, making any damn sense is less important than espousing opinions that don’t anger the powers that be. Nah, couldn’t be that.


6 comments on “Buffalo op-ed says new Bills owners could threaten selves with moving team

  1. Poor little podunky Buffalo is not going to support the level of taxpayer trough dough and luxury suiteness that we NFL owners demand. Toronto here we come.

    Mmmm, I can taste the Canadian public stadium cash already!

  2. This is a great post that so well summarizes the NFL stadium game. Team is worth a billion bucks, league is hugely profitable, but why not extract money from the public is politicians are suckers enough?

  3. Politicians aren’t suckers, they are tools. You purchase them, use them, and then move on to plunder the next city!

  4. There are any number of reasons why a new stadium isn’t going to result in the kind of revenue enhancements in Buffalo that it might in other markets.

    I can sum them up in one though: Golden toilets only make you money if there are people willing to pay $40 to use them.

    I hope the Bills stay in Buffalo. The fans there have certainly supported the team through thick and (mostly) thin, and do so the way sports fans used to: by showing up and buying beer and hotdogs.

    In my view, this is one of the great chasms in modern sports: the gap between the fans of yesteryear who would troop 20 miles in freezing temps and 3′ of snow to watch their team (if they can even see it with all that snow) and the sushi generation fan who won’t bother to turn up unless his air conditioned loge is fully stocked with Pellegrini and Lobster Bisque.

    I understand why the NFL wants to curry favour with the latter (the same reason the NFL does everything: $$$$), but surely they must realize that there are fewer of the well heeled fans, and that their interests can be fickle.

    What good is a $1.3Bn stadium in a location where fans can’t afford to go into it?

  5. There are fewer well-heeled fans, but if you’re only building 50,000-seat stadiums and only have eight homes games a year, you don’t need that many to sell out.

    I’m not defending it, but I can see why for the NFL in particular, marketing solely to the upper crust might seem like a good strategy. Given the collapse of the American middle class and advances in big screens, the beer-and-hot-dogs fans are probably mostly home watching on TV regardless.

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