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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Taxpayers will face an $850 million tab for Buffalo Bills’ new $1.35 billion stadium

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State and county taxpayers will be asked to give $850 million in public funding for the construction of the Buffalo Bills’ new stadium, which has a state-estimated price tag of $1.35 billion, a person familiar with the plan told the Associated Press on Monday. .

The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement has yet to be approved. The Athletic reported this figure earlier in the day.

The dollar amount is considered the largest public commitment to an NFL facility, with the bill and the league bearing the remainder of the cost.

The figure was revealed at league owners’ meetings in Florida as bills prepared to present their stadium proposal. The owners were scheduled to vote on the proposal as well as approve bills that are said to be a $200 million G4 loan to go toward construction costs.

Under the rules of the G4 program, Bill’s owners Terry and Kim Pegula must at least match the debt.

NFL approval will be the first important step for a project in a critical week. The parties are getting closer to reaching a formal agreement, with the details of the plan kept a tad secret.

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul faces a deadline to reach a settlement in time to include part of the state’s funding in her budget, which must be approved by law on April 1. Hochul had earlier expressed confidence to deal with the bills before the deadline. Even though he presented a $216 billion budget in January without including a stadium commitment, Hochul said he has several options at his disposal to get the funding needed for the project.

The NFL’s $200 million contribution was already included as part of the funding package for a proposed 60,000-seat facility across the street from the Bills’ existing stadium at Orchard Park.

Erie County is also a lease holder and must approve the proposal as well.

A taxpayer commitment of $850 million would represent approximately 63% of the estimated cost of construction. Although high, it is less than the 73% the state and county have historically committed to the team for construction and capital costs since the bills were established in 1960.

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Buffalo News previously reported the largest ever commitment of taxpayer funds to an NFL stadium belonging to the Las Vegas Raiders, with $750 million of public funding directed towards the construction of the $1.97 billion Elegant Stadium, which opened in 2020.

However, there has been a high division of public-private funding for NFL facilities, the newspaper found. Taxpayers covered 86% of the $720 million cost to build the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium, which opened in 2008. Public commitments to the Cincinnati Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium, which opened in 2000, covered $425 million of the $450 million construction cost. ,

Bills is seeking to replace its existing facility, which opened in 1973 and was deemed too expensive to renovate. A state study in November pegged the renovation cost at $862 million.

If approved, the bill projects the new facility could be built in time for the start of the 2026 season. The bill’s current lease with the state and county runs through July 2023.

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