Ralph Wilson Stadium has been the home of the Buffalo Bills since 1973. The stadium, formerly known as Rich Stadium, has been considered an old, traditional stadium without all the glitz and glamour of the newer renovated stadiums. Many criticize the stadium because of its lackluster appearance, but real Bills fans appreciate the stadium and think of it true football in its finest, especially in the dead of winter.
Whether it’s driving up to the stadium being flagged down by hometown residents trying to get you to park and use their inside bathroom, or tailgating with the NFL’s most loyal fans, the idea of Bills stadium being anywhere else but Orchard Park just doesn’t seem right. However, here we are considering plans of new stadiums and new locations for the Bills.
Earlier this year, the Bills proposed a renovation of the stadium that would cost $220 million. This renovation would update the shabby looking bathrooms and also add restaurants and bars inside the stadium. Buffalo originally had hoped to qualify for the NFL’s G-4 grant program that provides low interest rates and matching renovation costs. The Bills missed the deadline this season to commit to the program and lease extensions were quieted.
Recently, talks have sparked again, and the timing couldn’t be worse. The Bills have a losing record and will most likely miss the playoffs again. Fans patience wears thin, as well players in the locker room. The last thing that anyone wants to think about right now is a new stadium that tax payers will most likely foot the bill for, and increased ticket prices that fans will have to swallow to watch their beloved Bills.
Today, Nicholas Stracick, CEO of the Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Comlex, released yet another proposal for the Bills. His idea is to build a $1.4 billion stadium that would seat approximately 70,000 seats and a retractable roof located on the waterfront. This idea has no relation to the current lease agreements that Buffalo is planning for renovation. This complex is being built to eventually be the home of the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo CEO, Russ Brandon, says he has no involvement in Stracick’s plan.
This news comes shortly after Rocco Termini, a Buffalo contractor, proposed a new stadium location that would send the team across the border and into Hamilton, Ontario. Termini believes moving the stadium to a better market would allow the Bills to increase revenue by selling corporate seats at a higher price and build a stronger relationship with Toronto, where Buffalo already plays a game every season.
All these ideas to increase revenue and build a better market is great, for a great team. Unfortunately, rather than Bills fans being excited about a possible downtown waterfront stadium, the fans are frustrated and angry at the thought of spending another dollar on a team that can’t win. Until the commitment is to winning, talks of a new stadium should be saved and had behind closed doors because no one wants to hear it right now in Buffalo.
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