If you’re waiting for me to breakdown the dollars and cents of this, you’ll be waiting a long time, but what I will say is something that needs to be trumpeted to Bills fans whether they like this particular idea or not (I do): if you want the Bills here long-term, they are going to need a new place to play.
Ralph Wilson Stadium has loads of memories and lots of parking… and really, that’s it. I don’t mind going down there for a game and it’s adequate thanks to our relatively-sated tastes but anyone who’s gone to an NFL game out-of-town knows how far behind the Ralph trails the majority of facilities (and all modern joints). In fact, if Buffalo weren’t operating under antiquated tailgating laws that cater to our own boozing standards, this would be much clearer. The question isn’t whether or not Buffalo needs a new stadium to keep the Bills, it’s whether the community could pay the season ticket rates to fill the place. Maybe that’s the bigger fear; a new joint would expose the market?
Let alone the actual hilarious nature of the Ralph. Here is a building in use for a maximum of, what, 15 days a year (not counting Bills practices)? A building that, from what I understand, needs an incredibly silly amount of money just to keep it from falling apart each offseason. Yet even so, Orchard Park has a knack for development and probably would have a Carrabba’s, White Castle, Chipotle and 14 law offices in the “Rockpile” before the last of the Wall of Fame letters were readied for transport.
In terms of this particular idea, I’m for it. There needs to be a lot of research into what the NFLPA and NFL teams take off the top of stadium events — I’ve heard it’s a straight-fleecing for concert & event promoters — but Buffalo could begin to reel in some “urban” sprawl by challenging Darien Lake’s lockdown of huge summer concerts (Funtime Presents is already doing this, but we’re talking different fish for different fisherman here) as well as Orchard Park’s commandeering of Sunday’s economy at least seven times each year.
Fact of the matter: if you want to keep your Bills, Buffalo, get out-of-the-way of a new joint.