Pegula Sports

Poloncarz comments on Bills stadium discussions

CE: Evidence shows almost no positive impact other than keeping team in town

June 04, 2019 - 9:09 am

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz on Tuesday said that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's comments about the future of a Buffalo Bills stadium is the same conversation that he has every year.

"He represents the owners," Poloncarz told WGR 550's Howard Simon and Jeremy White. "He does not represent the best interests of the community. We just want people to understand we're here for the community and to ensure the viability of the team as well as what's in the best interest for the community."

Poloncarz didn't believe there was a veiled threat by Goodell to invest in a new stadium or risk losing the franchise.

"I think, if anything, he sort of made it about the viability of the franchise and the competitive nature," Goodell said. "People are like 'Why would the stadium matter to the competitive nature of the team on the field?' It doesn't. He's talking about the financial end and that we're not competitive compared to the larger markets that can bring in hundreds of millions of dollars more in shared revenue than what can be done here."

Poloncarz would not comment about particulars of the negotiations between the county, who owns the stadium, and Pegula Sports and Entertainment. The county executive said he has monthly meetings with representatives from the Bills and meets only a couple of times per year with Kim Pegula.

"Everything is on the table," Poloncarz said. "That's what I said Monday. All options are on the table when you start a negotiation. We have a good line of communications...I feel we are in a good position to start when they feel it's necessary, which appears won't happen until the CAA Icon report is done and they're comfortable with the results of it."

CAA Icon's study will likely not be released publicly, though Poloncarz said they will be able to see portions of it. Specifically, Erie County will see the results of the infrastructure of the stadium, but not financial elements such as market share. Erie County is conducting their own internal analysis.

New stadiums in the league have more than $1 billion. According to Seat Geek, the new stadium for the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, cost $2.66 billion while a new stadium for the Raiders costs $2.4 billion. The Atlanta Falcons stadium cost $1.6 billion.

New stadiums mean increased prices from everything ranging from a ticket to concessions, but the new stadiums have also featured personal seat licenses.

"When they talk about an economic impact to the greater community from the construction of a new stadium, all the evidence shows there's almost no positive impact other than keeping the team in town," Poloncarz said. "If you're talking about other out-shoots of economic growth, it almost never occurs. Especially if the facility is owned by the government because you get no tax revenue from it. I don't think you're going to necessarily see, whether it's a new stadium or retrofit, that there's a brand new revenue stream coming in for the community. What you have is a football team that continues to play, which is very important for the overall community."

CAA Icon's stadium study is expected to be complete by the end of August.

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