The Buffalo Bills of the NFL are getting a new, $ 1.4 billion stadium. New York taxpayers are on the hook for about $ 1 billion of that.
Buffalo keeps its team for at least thirty years and it keeps part of its identity.
Can you really put a price tag on a city's image?
The neew stadium will be built next to the old one in Orchard Park. Proponents say increased economic development will cover the cost of the stadium, although there really isn't much around the current stadium. Several groups wanted the stadium build in downtown Buffalo. Construction cost would be higher, but so would the economic development. With suburban stadiums, you drive there, watch the game, and get back on the highway to go back home.
As I have always said, if stadiums (real plural is "stadia") and arenas were so great, why isn't the private sector jumping on this to cash in?
San Diego declined to build a new stadium several years ago. It lost the NFL's Chargers to Los Angeles as a result. It also lost out on a Super Bowl, at least once every five years, and those things pump billions into local economies.
Could Buffalo have survived if the Bills moved? Most certainly. San Diego isn't declaring Chapter 11 because the Chargers left. The same goes for St. Louis, where fans got a raw deal when the Rams headed back west.
There is some development around Lackawanna County Stadium, but that would have happened just by building access roads to the Montage area. The same goes for the Wilkes-Barre Township arena. The new exit ramp was the real stimulus there, and the road from Mundy Street to Route 309 didn't hurt, either.
Time will tell if the Buffalo deal makes sense. In the meantime, taxpayers, hold on to your wallets.