New York State and Erie County officials today reportedly will join in announcing that the Buffalo Bills have signed a 10-year renewal of their stadium lease, and that team owners have agreed to pay a $400 million penalty if they move out of Buffalo before the lease expires.
The tab for state and county taxpayers apparently will be at least $95 million out of a total of $130 million in renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium. ** UPDATE: This report suggests the public’s share of the costs will total $226 million, including but not limited to the stadium rneovation. **
But, hey, it could be worse: New Jersey taxpayers are still paying for the repeatedly refinanced debt first issued in the 1970s to build the now-demolished Meadowlands stadium that was home to two of the NFL’s “New York” teams before they moved to a new billion-dollar stadium next door a few years ago.
The previous Buffalo stadium lease deal included $63 million in state-subsidized renovations and $38 million in upgrades paid for by the county, which itself ran into such deep fiscal trouble a few years ago that it was placed under the supervision of a state control board.
Last year, a Forbes analysis suggested the Bills franchise is among the most profitable in the NFL.
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