New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills might only be a last resort if it were a deal-breaker in keeping the team in Western New York.
Cuomo addressed the issue during an event Tuesday in Buffalo. He said the state is already paying for a fair share of the $130 million in renovations being done this summer to Ralph Wilson Stadium, so the desire might not be there to have taxpayers – or anyone else- pony up the billion dollars or so that would be needed for an entirely new facility:
"It depends on who buys the team and what their expectations are, right? No one is anxious to build a stadium if we don't have to build a stadium, more because no one is anxious to pay for a stadium. Stadiums are very expensive creatures, and even if you said, 'Well everyone's going to contribute, the state, the county, the NFL, the new owner,' it is still expensive. So you would only build a new stadium if you really, really had to build a new stadium and then you had a lot of money from other sources coming in."
Commissioner Roger Goodell has said a new stadium is vital to keeping the team in Buffalo as the club's sales process continues. It officially opened up last when prospective buyers were notified by the team's bankers concerning some financial details.
Among the confirmed bidders are Donald Trump, former Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano and current Sabres owner Terry Pegula. At least one out-of-town interest – Maple Leaf Sports, a Toronto group tied to Jon Bon Jovi – has also been tied to the team.
"There are bidders who I believe will be involved who are committed to keeping the team in Buffalo … Anything can change, but at this point a number of bidders who are seriously considering going forward are committed to keep the the team in Western New York."
The state has a committee looking at potential new stadium sites, should one be needed. They include Buffalo's waterfront and Niagara Falls. Ralph Wilson Stadium is in the southern suburb of Orchard Park.
The NFL has seen 16 of the 17 new NFL stadiums built leaguewide funded at least in part with public money. Only MetLife Stadium in New Jersey was built entirely with private money. Contributions range from $70.5 million of public money for FedEx Field in Washington (28 percent of the project cost) to $424.8 million for Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati (94 percent of the project cost). The public also paid the entire $194 million cost for Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay.
Cuomo has said some taxpayer funds would be available if need be. The team's sales process is expected to continue through the summer.
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