Under terms of a proposed agreement negotiated among the Buffalo Bills, New York State and Erie County, taxpayers would pay $850 million toward the construction costs of a new stadium. The state and county provided some details Monday on the cost to build and maintain the new stadium in Orchard Park. Here's a look at the breakdown of stadium costs:
$1.4 billion: Total stadium construction cost
Where it comes from
• $600 million: State investment. To be included in the state budget. Not clear whether it’s a one-time payment or whether it will be borrowed this year and paid back over time. The state has different methods for paying back bonds.
• $250 million: Erie County contribution. The county intends to use $75 million from the county's year-end budget surplus for 2021 to cover a portion of this cost. The remainder of the county share would be borrowed.
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• $350 million: Buffalo Bills. Some will come from the sale of about 50,000 personal seat licenses to all season ticket holders, beginning around $1,000 apiece. All season tickets will include PSLs but an undetermined number of single-game tickets also will be available.
• $200 million: National Football League. The league’s owners approved financing at this level Monday through the NFL’s G-4 loan program. Most of the loan would be paid back through the visiting team’s share of certain ticket revenue.
This brings the upfront public financing for stadium construction to $850 million, or 61% of the cost.
The Buffalo Bills would pick up cost overruns on the project.
That’s less than the average 73% public contribution to stadium deals in smaller NFL markets over the past two decades, a Buffalo News analysis found.
However, it is higher than the public share toward the most recent stadiums, such as those constructed in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The highest previous direct public subsidy to a new stadium is the $750 million toward the Las Vegas Raiders' $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium.
Ongoing stadium costs
In addition to directly subsidizing the cost of constructing the stadium, the state also would pay toward annual maintenance and repair costs.
• $6 million: Annual state contribution to the Capital Improvement Fund for each of the the 30 years of the lease.
• $6.67 million: Annual state contribution into a maintenance and repair fund. The payments will last for 15 years. The county will not pay into this fund.
• Up to $4 million: Estimated annual contribution to capital improvements generated by Erie County through game-day surcharges – essentially a tax – on stadium users who buy tickets, concessions and other items sold at the new facility.
• $900,000: Estimated annual contribution to the capital improvement fund from Bills lease payments.
All told, the state would pay just under $12.67 million a year in ongoing costs for the first 15 years of the lease. That figure is close to the $13.2 million annually that New York and Erie County combined – each paying $6.6 million – currently pay into a capital fund and for operating expenses under the 2013 stadium renovation deal. It will drop to $6 million per year for the final 15 years of the lease.
Under the new agreement, the state no longer would pay for game day or operating expenses at the stadium. Those will be the responsibility of the Bills. And, unlike the current stadium, the state – not Erie County – would own the new venue.
All told, the state and Erie County are committing at least $1.13 billion in upfront and ongoing public funding to the new Bills stadium.
Source: New York State