ORCHARD PARK – After months of negotiating, a new deal has been reached to keep the Buffalo Bills in Western New York for the next 30 years. We’re breaking down the details of the deal.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Governor Kathy Hochul, and Bills’ owners Terry and Kim Pegular announced Monday a $1.4 billion new stadium in Orchard Park, just across the street from the current home of the Bills, Highmark Stadium.
“Contribution towards construction: Erie County Stadium Corporation, that is an arm of Empire state development in New York State, will be contributing $600 million. Erie County will be contributing $250 million, and i’ll talk about why this is a great deal for Erie County. And the Buffalo Bills will be doing everything else,” explained Poloncarz.
Just before the announcement, the 32 team owners in the NFL met and approved a $200 million loan for the new Bills stadium, with Bills’ owners Terry and Kim Pegula paying the rest of the $600 million.
While taxpayers will cover the reminder, this investment, Hochul says, will be returned through the sport’s economic impact. The Bills generate $27 million annually in direct income, sales and use taxes for New York State, Erie County and Buffalo.
These revenues will grow and will cumulatively amount to more than $1.6 billion over the 30-year lease period, according to the Governor.
“Our state share is 43 percent and the public share overall is 60.7 percent,” says Hochul. “Compare that to some other recent NFL stadiums in compramable markets, again we’re considered a small market, Cincinnati was 94 percent public financing, Indianapolis 86 percent public financing, and Baltimore was 91 percent.”
The new stadium will contribute a number of economic factors to the area, including labor.
“There will be a project labor agreement entered into by the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Building Trades. That means that union labor will work on this project,” says the Executive. “There are expected to be as many as 10,000 construction jobs that will be created as a result of this project. The actual money will be going into the wallets and purses and bank accounts of these construction workers who will then turn that money around and spend it back into our community.”
Poloncarz explained that Erie County will not own the stadium, but instead, the Erie County Stadium Corporation will lease the new construction to the Bills. Because the county will no longer own it, tax payers will not be responsible for millions of dollars in annual operational and capital expenses.
The stadium will also save the county from paying insurance, and allows them to strike a deal with the Bills for the Erie County Sheriff’s Department to provide security.
The stadium is planned to be operational for the 2026 season, and will include at least 60,000 seats.