Buffalo’s Pegula Sports and Entertainment is pitching a state-funded $1.5 billion Bills stadium proposal, which would also include additional upgrades for the firm’s Buffalo Sabres arena.
The Bills stadium proposal would construct a new stadium in Orchard Park, where the team’s current home, Highmark Stadium, is located, as well as money for KeyBank Center. The specifics of the proposal are a little opaque at the moment; the Buffalo News first reported the proposal, while a spokesperson for Pegula Sports and Entertainment says the total ask is less than $1.5 billion:
The public would provide an unprecedented 100%, according to multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the high sensitivity of the early stage of negotiations….
The team has made no overt threats, sources say, to leave Buffalo if it doesn’t get the full funding request, but it has made clear to government negotiators that there are other cities elsewhere that desire an NFL franchise and would pay handsomely for it….
The Pegulas are known to be hoping for a swift resolution in the next couple of months. Others close to the talks say that the initial due diligence process – determining the team and owners’ financial worth, examining other stadium deals around the country and weighing that against a stack of other spending priorities – has only recently begun by the governor’s office and his economic development agency, as well as an outside firm hired to advise the state on the matter.
Indeed, it’s no secret that cities like St. Louis, San Diego and San Antonio would respond very favorably to news that an NFL team is looking to relocate.
But it’s also no secret that the first choice of the Pegulas would be to stay in Buffalo, which makes an effort to play city against city problematic: you need to make the threat of relocation believable in order to succeed. The Bills’ situation is complicated by the fact that Buffalo is neither a large nor affluent market, so there are limited income streams related to suite sales and naming rights.
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