Bills used taxpayer money to rip out drinking fountains, force people to buy $5 water

My article yesterday at The Cauldron (direct link now active, click at will) on the Buffalo Bills demanding a new stadium right after getting renovations to their old one prompted this tweet pointing me to this article by ESPN’s Gregg Easterbrook, which notes:

Reader Jim Medwid of Alden, New York, attended a recent Bills preseason game and reports: “The concourses are now wider, but all drinking fountains have been removed from the stadium, which prohibits bringing in any kind of bottle, even clear-sided water bottles.” So taxpayers paid $90 million for renovations that force Bills ticket holders to buy $5 water bottles from the concession stands, and guess who keeps the profit.

Actually, more like $227 million, but who’s counting?

No drinking fountains and a ban on water bottles sounds like not just a terrible idea, but a recipe for lawsuits the first time someone passes out from dehydration on a hot day. (Yes, they have those in Buffalo in September.) It’ll also be interesting to see if we fan protests along the lines of the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ memorable Water-gate, which ultimately led to the team reversing its ban on outside water.


10 comments on “Bills used taxpayer money to rip out drinking fountains, force people to buy $5 water

  1. Several years ago they ripped out all of the drinking fountains at the arena in Cleveland. They put them back in after it was discovered that the city building code required drinking fountains in public buildings, and they were violating the code.

  2. Can’t wait until this idiocy hits Arizona stadiums. Seeing how just this week at a concert people were passing out waiting in line from heat exhaustion… http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2014/08/31/girls-pass-out-heat-waiting-tempe-concert-authorities-say-abrk/14912899/

  3. It won’t be long before there’s an “air charge” for breathing at games. After all, those places do have to provide air circulation, and those systems cost money.

  4. “Several years ago they ripped out all of the drinking fountains at the arena in Cleveland. They put them back in after it was discovered that the city building code required drinking fountains in public buildings, and they were violating the code.”

    I was wonder how they would get around codes which require them, but given how cities tend to do whatever they please on these they may just grant an exception

  5. Red Bull Arena didn’t have drinking fountains at first, either. Not sure whether they were forced to add them, or if it was just an oversight to begin with.

  6. It’s hardly a scientific study, but I have noticed that in general the newer the sports stadium, the fewer water fountains you tend to find. Because they have codes for practically everything else, I’m assuming most states also govern the number of fountains you must have for any given number of people in a building open to the public.

    I suspect Lance is right in that one of the things sports franchises prevail upon the regulatory bodies to do is waive or lower the required number of water points at the stadium… or maybe get them to count the vendor kiosks and machine at which you can buy water amongst their number.

  7. We didn’t get to be NFL billionaire owners by not gouging the plebes at every turn… sheesh. Could we just get on with the lavishing of public stadium cash on ownership up in Buffalo and quit crying about every little detail of how the Bills plan to gouge their customers? These are the days when being a plutocrat really gives me a headache.

  8. Right on Piggy. We got to stick together.

    Do any of you ignorant peons have a clue about what it costs us to live the way we do? I mean, we got expenses, you know? I might as well be talking to a wall, I mean, come on… you guys have no idea what it costs to roll the way we do. Man. Noblesse Oblige…

    BTW, Lucas Oil stadium is getting a little ragged around the edges already, know what I mean? Some of the handrails are dirty, and don’t even get me started on the state of the bathrooms in the luxury loges… time for a modernization, people…

  9. Was at the game 9/14/14 no water fountains anywhere.Pipes still there in the wall but shut off and capped.Rumor has it the general contractor petioned the town of Orchard Park where the stadium is located or the county of Erie to get a variance to the requirement that a taxpayer funded public building must have water fountains. Why would somebody want to eliminate water fountains in a public building?

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