Little information has been made available to the public during the quiet lease negotiations between the Buffalo Bills and Erie County, but it's clear that a new stadium is not in the immediate future.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz says there are really three reasons for keeping the team where it is: the county can't afford a billion dollars for a new facility, the Bills aren't asking for one and, there is no room downtown.
Senator Schumer speaking at Ralph Wilson Stadium Wednesday afternoon
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is requesting a change to a National Football League's matching loan program to free up $25 million in league revenue to help with renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium, without a penalty to the community if the team is sold.
Currently, what is known as the G-4 loan program would help the Bills pay for stadium upgrades, but it would have to be paid back immediately if the team is sold. That would permit a new owner to liquidate assets and relocate the franchise.
After significant study, the Buffalo Bills are proposing that Ralph Wilson Stadium undergo a major renovation as new lease talks get underway.
The cost of the renovation is anticipated to be in the $200 million range, and much of that funding will be provided by taxpayers. It is a less expensive option than retrofitting the stadium or contracting for a new one. The current fifteen year lease agreement between Erie County and the Bills regarding Ralph Wilson Stadium expires in 2013.
With the possibility of spending at least $100 million on repairing Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, city lawmakers are pushing for another look at instead building a new stadium in the City of Buffalo.
Erie County and the Bills are involved in talks about a new lease, although no details are being released. The current stadium needs significant repairs, with the estimate of $100 million being used frequently, although an in-depth study apparently hasn't been completed for the Bills.