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Stadium cost

Bills don't need billion dollar stadium

One of the more famous lines from the movie "Field of Dreams" is "if you build it, he will come".  When it comes to the future of the Buffalo Bills, we can ask "if we build it, will they stay?"

The "it" is a new stadium, although the issue might not have to be tackled depending on the outcome of the sale of the team.  The four person group overseeing the trust of the late Ralph Wilson might have a deal done before the 2014 Bills open training camp on July 20th at St. John Fisher. 

After that the sale must be approved by the NFL which could happen as early as October.  If it doesn't happen at those meetings, the league approval vote should take place no later than March so the issue of who will be the next owner of the Bills will be decided first.  If the team is sold to out of town interests that have no desire to keep the team in Western New York then the debate about new stadium versus renovated stadium will become moot.

If the Bills are sold to local interests who plan on keeping the team in WNY long term, the stadium question will eventually have to be answered.

When it comes to the possible construction of a new stadium, everyone will surely want to know where it will be located but two of the most important questions will also be how much it will cost and who is paying for it?

I would be shocked if a new owner comes in and promises to foot the entire bill.  My guess is we will be asked to pay a portion of the bill in some way, shape or form.  

There are some eye popping numbers out there if you start researching costs for recent NFL stadiums. The Atlanta Falcons new stadium will cost over one billion dollars while the Minnesota Vikings new home, which will host a Super Bowl, is pegged at just under one billion. San Francisco will open its new park this season and it was built at a cost of $1.3 billion.  The two most recent stadiums to have opened up are MetLife Stadium in New Jersey($1.6 billion) and AT&T Stadium in Dallas($1.3 billion).

Those are rather hefty price tags which would  A) put the new owner of the Bills deeper in debt and B) set taxpayers back more than a few bucks.  I don't mind helping out since my job is tied into the existence of professional sports teams in Buffalo but I'm about to celebrate our son going off to college and I'm still dealing with the sticker shock from the bill for his freshman year.

I find it hard to believe there wouldn't be stadium designs that would include whatever the new owner needs to remain competitive in the future NFL while also being mindful of the market and our collective budget.  In fact, there are plenty of stadiums that have been built which didn't include the word billion in the price tag.

Thanks to Wikipedia, I found a rundown on what each stadium cost to build and what that cost would be in 2014 dollars:
Philadephia   $512 million(actual)/ $656 million (2014 dollars)
Arizona           $455 million(actual)/$532 million( 2014 dollars) The stadium has a retractable roof and hosted Super Bowl XLII

Cincinnati       $455/623
Seattle             $430/564
Detroit              $430/564 (a domed stadium that hosted Super Bowl XL)

Denver            $400/534
Houston          $352/462( the stadium has a retractable roof and hosted Super Bowl XXXVIII)

New England $325/ 426
Cleveland       $283/ 401
Pittsburgh        $281/ 374
Carolina          $248/ 373

For those of you who prefer renovations as opposed to building a brand new stadium, Kansas City spent $375 million to renovate Arrowhead Stadium. Green Bay paid out $435 million to cover two separate phases in the renovation of Lambeau Field and Chicago essentially kept the outside of Soldier Field but built an entirely new interior for a cost of $587 million.

As I said, all of this is moot if the next owner of the Bills wants no part of keeping the team in WNY and lets hope that will not happen.  If the team does stay and a new stadium is a necessity as opposed to a wish list item, if we build it, it doesn't have to cost a billion dollars.

06/09/2014 4:37PM
Bills don't need billion dollar stadium
Please enter your comments below.
06/09/2014 5:44PM
They Will Stay, Build It Anyway
WNY is on the verge of a massive return of population. When global sea level rise really picks up speed over the next 5 years, people will be flocking back, and there will be boon unlike anyone could have ever imagined. With a milder climate to boot, Buffalo's new stadium may well host SB LXV. You heard it here first.
06/09/2014 6:40PM
One stadium not mentioned is Lucas Stadium in Indy. Cost was under $800000 and is a fantastic stadium.
06/09/2014 8:27PM
Very true
doesnt have to be a billion. also, if its not a dome, whats the point of a new stadium?
06/09/2014 8:54PM
The term dome is obsolete
Detroit has a roof, not a dome! Please everyone stop using the term dome when you mean roof.
06/09/2014 9:54PM
It's a winning team that draws fans, duh!
I'll sit on cinder blocks if my teams is in the playoffs year after year. Yes, I want $80 seats for $80, but I'm not going to sit in them unless the team plays like a $1,000,000. Put out a winning team and people will pay to support it.
06/09/2014 10:05PM
I can't figure out the need
can someone explain to me why the Bills, assuming they stay in WNY, need a new stadium? In other words, what new revenues would the new owner attain above and beyond what he or she would get a RWS? I can't think of anything other than PSLs. What am I missing?? I am a season ticket holder since the late 90's. obviously the stadium location is not ideal for most folks but I'm baffled on what the return on investment is here. And overall I can't complain about the stadium conditions, especially with what is being done this offseason.
06/09/2014 11:29PM
OMFG! Quit whining about the cost of a stadium already! And the team ISN'T moving.
Do any of you out there realize how on the cheap Rich Stadium was when it was built? Even after the last and current renovations, you are STILL under $300,000,000 TOTAL! It is long, long, long overdue that a new stadium be built AND it has to go downtown and a retractable roof is a must! I prefer the waterfront due to the view and potential for a covention center, Strong Museum tie-in, potentially a World-class aquarium combined with pedestrian bridges and a MetroRail extension so there is a direct connection to Canalside. Will it cost a lot? Sure, but it'll cost more as each year passes and it will never get cheaper either. It's time. New owner, new stadium. New future.
06/10/2014 8:35AM
Bills don't need a billion dollar stadium
Yes they do you fool. Are you guys on the radio going to talk another week of this Bills sale or move stuff. Looks like yous' are. I'll just keep my radio off. I'm tired of it. What a Joke!!!
06/10/2014 8:35AM
Famous line...
yet Howard gets it wrong anyway. It's "if you build it, THEY will come."
06/10/2014 8:57AM
bills don't need a better stadium
The bills need a better team to win the super bowl....not a better stadium. Get the players who will win for us.
06/10/2014 10:04AM
tax revenue
I'd really love to know how much actual tax dollars are generated for the County/State by having an NFL franchise. Income Tax, Property Tax, Sales Tax, etc. If it takes tax dollars to keep the team in Western New York long term, than I'm perfectly fine with that.
06/10/2014 10:18AM
Ralph W legacy
Mr. Wilson always wanted to keep the Bills in WNY and structured the lease to try and make sure that happens. I wonder if he did more...maybe some of the profits from the sale will be given to the new owner only if he builds a new stadium in the Buffalo region. OK it's a dream...but he surprised us in the past.
06/10/2014 10:22AM
Re: I can't figure out the need
Rich Stadium (Sorry, that's what I call it) is old. I lacks the sheer number of premium seats that would be present with a new stadium. After that, there is the "I want it" factor that is present for any new owner and has no basis in any reality. Because you have a governor that has flat out told everyone he is willing to do this means that a new stadium is in the cards so as a fan our job is to simply do what we can to make it a nice new stadium (retractable roof, downtown...) and then pretend that we wanted it the whole time. In other words...bend over and smile :-) !
06/10/2014 11:20AM
High-Speed Rail
We need high-speed rail tied into the new stadium too and heated seats. Natural turf is a must and good-paying jobs even for the lazy and uneducated. And world peace...that is essential.
06/10/2014 11:43AM
re: I can't figure out the need
The thought is that a new stadium closer to Canada would draw on their corporate base. The thought is that RWS is too far away and too run down to currently get this support.Not sure if this will happen obviously but that is the "return on investment" a new owner would be looking at with a new stadium.
06/10/2014 1:16PM
re:to build it any way.
i agree i wrote a comment last month on how buffalo is a ghost town. I am seeing more people rebuilding vancant houses every day. Mind you some of them come from another country and getting the job done. Now you have people of all walks of life. just buying up any thing they can't get their hands on. So that show you that the city is growing at a fast rate. But here the point about that no matter what your color is. Lets join together and make our city strong again. Enough of the name calling, and the killing and the disrespect for one another. It really is the time for us as the people in buffalo to united. And if you can't do it for yourself. Than do it for your kids.
06/10/2014 2:07PM
Dome Stadium
Bon Jovi says he will get the Bills a dome stadium. And cheap too.
06/10/2014 5:02PM
Bon Jovi
Jon-Jon wants the Bills....dead or alive. He's a cowboy who rides a steal horse.
06/10/2014 6:36PM
Bon Jovi needs Dome so he can play his music in...
Bon Jovi needs dome for his hair too. He cant get that ruined .
06/10/2014 7:36PM
Bills are leaving. No new stadium will be built
Didn't you all talk about a Bass Pro coming to Buffalo for years and that it would save the city? LOL. What about the talk of a new Peace Bridge for 40 years now? Nothing gets done in Buffalo because people are incapable of running things effectively. It's no surprise why so many people have left the city and region. There is no way a new stadium gets built. Bye Bye Buffalo Bills.
06/10/2014 8:10PM
Re: Famous line...
Both lines are used in the movie. The line "he will come" is used, and the "he" being shoeless joe jackson.
06/10/2014 8:27PM
Don't Just Go Big, Go Huge
Time for our local politicians to stop the deterioration of upstate new york and start rebuilding it. Let's get a two sport stadium, football and baseball. With technology today a stadium can have an adjustable roof and even part of the stands can be adjustable, to give good sight lines for both sports. If we are going to pay an outrageous amount of money for a sports stadium, I say let's go huge. I would definitely go to see MLB games, probably more than NFL games.
06/10/2014 11:18PM
build it they will come
I was in the rockpile, 25 years at Rich, and I would love to see the Stadium in Buffalo, which is beginning to rock. That's a testament to a ton of small projects creating the buzz. BUT, today's NFL demands the Glitz and Glamour of a world class attraction/destination, a wonder of the world...NIAGARA FALLS. Build the Taj Mahal downtown, which can be a grandiose convention center, wedding venue (how bout private suites for 8 games a year that serve as banquet rooms looking out at the falls the other 350 days), hotel, the whole works. That's a silver bullet this whole region could use.
06/11/2014 11:58AM
No need
I see no need at all for a new stadium just as 130 mil is being put in now. The stadium is fine and looks great. the hell with the NFL...if they think the Bills need a new stadium then let them foot the bill, the entire bill. What happens 25 years from now with these new stadiums, do they just get torn down and build a $3 billion stadium. Enough already.
06/11/2014 10:58PM
Build It!
I'd happily pay more in taxes for a new stadium. Besides, we are nit taxed that bad. By the way, I pay no taxes because I don't make any money.
06/12/2014 9:47AM
06/12/2014 8:18PM
Stow it Howard
Don't you got a lawn to cut? You're articles SUCK! You've been around the twit too long. (Jeremy White)
06/13/2014 9:22AM
: build it they will come
completely agree. we need to look at the big picture, and view a new stadium as an unprecedented opportunity to kick start the regional economy, not just Buffalo's. Niagara Falls provides the perfect backdrop for a retractable dome/ regional convention center/ banquet hall venue that gets used year-round for a variety of events, not just 10 or 12 football games a year. Imagine the visuals on TV of this type of facility packed with 80,000 screaming Bill's fans cheering with the mist of the falls floating over the stadium. Not to mention that such a facility would allow Buffalo to tear down the existing convention center and free up the waterfront and downtown for other more desireable New Urbanism projects.
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