SBD/June 22, 2012/Facilities

Bills, NFL Being Asked To Contribute To Ralph Wilson Stadium Renovations

The renovations the Bills are asking for Ralph Wilson Stadium could cost up to $220M
Erie County (New York) Exec Mark Poloncarz said that the Bills are "asking for stadium renovations costing between $200 million and $220 million," according to Warner & Gee of the BUFFALO NEWS. But now the Bills -- along with the NFL -- are "being asked to provide tens of millions of dollars for the improvements." Nobody is saying "whether the Bills are willing to pay that high a share." The "silver lining for the Bills, though, is that any share above $25 million the team pays toward a large stadium renovation project could be matched by the NFL," as part of the league's G-4 loan program. The loans "are a vehicle for the NFL to help finance either the construction of new stadiums, or the renovations projects at existing ones." Sources said that "the G-4 funding is considered key to helping pay for the renovations needed in any new lease agreement." The Bills' "current stadium lease runs out July 31, 2013." Other sources said that it "could be difficult for Erie County to extract much private funding from the Bills and the NFL." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis said, "It's a great concept, but in reality, what the Bills are asking for is not a stretch, a couple of hundred million." Warner & Gee note, "Whatever the final price tag of the stadium renovation sought by the Bills, it likely won't be the only cost of the new lease." The last time "a deal was struck, Erie County picked up the cost of annual upgrades, stadium maintenance and game-day expenses -- costs that likely will be part of any new deal." That could "push the total price tag, depending on the length of the lease, up in the neighborhood of $300 million" (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/22).
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