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Stadium Upgrades Would be Pivotal in Keeping Bills in Buffalo
By now you’ve probably read about John Wawrow’s report that the Bills are exploring renovations for Ralph Wilson Stadium with the firm Populus, who has experience designing NFL facilities such as the New England’s Gillette Stadium, Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, and Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
This report comes on the heels of a word advice from the comissioner. During Roger Goodell’s visit to Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 9th, Goodell noted that the two main things that would be critical to keeping the Bills in Buffalo would be continued fan support and upgrading Ralph Wilson Stadium. It’s obvious why fan support is important, and by keeping the stadium updated the Bills would be able to continue to contributing to the NFL’s collective revenue pool and avoid being free loaders in the league’s revenue sharing arrangement.
While this is very preliminary (the Bills have only just contacted Populus, who hasn’t priced any renovation plans yet. And when there is a budget, there is still the matter of getting the State/County to pay for it), it is a very positive sign for the prospects of the Bills staying in Buffalo. As it stands, relocation isn’t as much of a sure thing as many think if a non Buffalo vested owner were to buy the team. The team is not saddled with debt and mortgage payments that many other teams who have recently built billion dollar stadiums are, and even both LA stadium proposals are not nearly as financially stable as the Bills financial situation is, at least for the short term. If the Bills are able to appease the NFL with stadium upgrades without taking on hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, that will be an excellent harbinger that the team will be profitable to keep in Buffalo.