If Super Bowls Come to Cities with New Stadiums, What Of Buffalo in 2026?

Hospitality And Tourism Expert Makes The Case for Buffalo After New Era Field

Dave Debo
February 02, 2018 - 6:43 am

AP Photo


(WBEN)  Whether it's to showcase a new facility or to incentivize the construction of one, the National Football League seems to have fallen into a pattern that could eventually be part of the pressure to bring a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills -- and eventually maybe even a Super Bowl -- to  Buffalo. 

A few examples:

  • Levi's Stadium in California hosted the Super Bowl in 2017,  just two years after opening their $1.3 billion  facility
  • Minneapolis hosts Super Bowl LII this weekend, just a few years after building the $1.061 billion US Bank Stadium (pictured above)
  • Atlanta  hosts the 2018 Super Bowl,  just two years after opening Mercedes-Benz stadium, at a cost of  $1.6 billion

" And with that in mind  I would imagine Las Vegas and their new facility that will house  the Raiders will be on the docket soon thereafter , and aligning with that idea, I think that Buffalo would certainly be a wonderful host," says Kurt Stahura, dean of  Niagara University's  College of Hospitality and Tourism Management.  

The Buffalo Bills are in a long term lease with Erie County leaving them at New Era Field through at least 2023, but the league has made it known that they would prefer that Buffalo build a new facility. 

 Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Bills owner Terry Pegula have often pointed to the improvements at New Era Field as justification for a go-slow approach on a new facility, but Stahura says the possibility of a Super Bowl could be the big dangle that changes things as the lease winds down.

"I think that this is not only an interesting dialogue,  but I think that the tables are set for this. Not only do we have a lot to look forward to in Buffalo if a Super Bowl never comes here, but I think this is very very realistic," he says.

Other obstacles: "Obviously there are issues related to infrastructure. And there are places that have advantages with respect to number of flights, size of the airport. Sometimes public transportation helpful. But I don't think that stands in the way of a new stadium. I think it would be exciting for the area, " he says.

More than just a stadium:  In recent years, when the NHL has discussed possibly having Buffalo host hockey's All Star game the league had raised concerns about not having an adequately sized convention center near the arena. Typically Super Bowls have something similar, with the NFL experience hosted near the stadium, and the need for massive hosting facilities, press accommodations and related space needs.

To win Super Bowl LI, Minneapolis had to show they had 24,000 hotels rooms available for a ten day stretch, within an hour's drive of the stadium.  Right now, Erie County alone has about 12,000 rooms, with many regularly booked for business travel.   But Stahura says that is easily addressed but expanding the region, as Buffalo did when it joined with Rochester to bid for Amazon's second headquarters. 

"In the summer it is not uncommon for us to hear about people coming to visit the Falls, staying as far away as Rochester or even Erie," Stahura says. 

Up front costs:   Under the headline "Windfall for Super Bowl Hosts? Economists Say It's Overrated",  the New York times recently le took most economic development projections to task, saying that the benefits are often overblown, and the amount of up front spending cities need are often ignored.   But Stahura says, here too, Buffalo is different.  As such an unknown underdog city on the rise, Buffalo has more to gain by taking a turn in the national spotlight.

" The benefits are an infusion of money into the downtown area. I would say that it would also shine a light on a city that is very much on the rise, and leave people with a 'wow, what a great city it is, and I wouldn't have known '," 

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