It seems like ever since Jerry Jones took the financial step in building a billion dollar stadium for the Dallas Cowboys, everyone wants one. What does the NFL have to say about bringing in a new Buffalo Bills stadium.
I’m going to be completely honest. I think all of the hype surrounding building a new stadium is unneeded. Yes, the venue is a big part of the experience that comes along with going to a football game. However, I feel like the increasing demand for the “newest,” “most expensive” and “most luxury” stadium is actually taking away from that football experience.
Since the Dallas Cowboys made the huge step to build a billion dollar venue in 2009, making them the first team to do so, a lot of teams have followed suit. Before that, the most expensive stadium was built by the Indianapolis Colts just a year before Jerry Jones took action. Since he did, the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings have all opened up their checkbooks and rebuilt.
“The key is to realize that we are not LA,” Russ Brandon chimed in.
There are also two teams currently building new, high-class stadiums and three more that are being proposed. The Atlanta Falcons have their new stadium coming in 2017 and the Los Angeles Rams should have theirs in 2019. In addition, proposed plans have been sent to the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers.
With all of the new technology and added features to these stadiums, it’s not only costing the owners and other people funding the project. It’s also taking away from the public. In fact, over the past 20 years, the public has spent well over $7 billion strictly on renovating/rebuilding their city’s football stadium.
For instance, let’s take a look at the proposed plan for the Los Angeles Rams’ new City of Champions Stadium.
In a photo of what the stadium will eventually look like, I can’t even tell if it’s a football stadium. Maybe it’s due to the fact that the stadium is actually in the very background of that photo and is completely masked by all of the other amenities the venue has to offer. Some people are even comparing the Rams’ efforts with this to Walt Disney’s efforts with Disney World.
The City of Champions stadium, which is rumored to seat 80,000 football fans, will take up more than 300 acres of land or 3.1 million square feet. That would make it the largest stadium in the NFL. Some features include an artificial lake, a 19-acre transparent canopy above, a residential area, shopping, restaurants, hotels, theaters, etc. It will also be capable of expanding to seat 100,000 people in the case of a special event, such as a music concert. The stadium will also be equipped with all of the latest technology, making it look futuristic.
Now, I can understand the need for making a football stadium that can bring in revenue a variety of different ways. However, if you’re going to take the time and money to bring the St. Louis Rams back home to Los Angeles and build a brand new, $2.6 billion stadium to celebrate their return, then this better be a FOOTBALL stadium. It’s okay to make a multi-purpose venue, but you need to remember the main reason this stadium is being built — which is for the Rams’ family.
So, how does this affect the Buffalo Bills?
Well, if you’re a Buffalo Bills’ fan, then you can surely agree that our stadium needs a little bit of work. Yes, a brand new stadium would be awesome for the city of Buffalo and the Bills’ fans. It would add to the Bills’ experience and open up a world of opportunity for bringing more entertainment to the 716 area. The only problem is, the NFL doesn’t seem to care about building a new stadium — unless it’s the next, big, billion dollar venue.
I mean, is that really what we need? We are a traditional set of football fans that don’t need all of this cool technology and “artificial lakes.” We want to watch football, root for the Buffalo Bills and not have our Sunday’s be completely distracted by the added nonsense. It just seems like that’s a lot of money that doesn’t need to be spent right now.
Money. That’s what this all comes down to. We are Buffalo. I won’t sit here and say our fans aren’t as committed as the bigger teams — because we’re more committed than them. However, it’s a fact that we don’t have the same market as those teams, the same number of fans, the population, etc. We are a small town that simply loves their Bills enough that they never wanted to leave.
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Simply put, other markets can afford to put big money into a new stadium because they have that big money to spend. That money just isn’t in Buffalo. And it’s hard to fund a new stadium when the funding isn’t there to begin with.
So, what does the NFL have to say about all of this? Well, believe it or not, the Buffalo Bills’ stadium has been a topic on a lot of owner’s minds and even on the mind of the commissioner, Roger Goodell.
“What does it take to make sure the Bills remain here on a successful basis? Stadiums are important, just to making sure that the team can continue to compete, not only throughout the NFL, but also compete in this environment. Because we’ve got great facilities here now and the Bills have to stay up with that,” said Roger Goodell according to ESPN’s Mike Rodak.
Even John Mara, the owner of the New York Giants, tuned in on the Bills. “It gets tougher to compete when all these new stadiums are going up, and [the Bills are] going to be at a disadvantage, i think, somewhat competitively unless they get one,” said Mara. “We’d all like to see them get a new building,” he continued.
With all of that being said, what do the Bills have to say? With the demand for one in place — both by NFL owners and league officials — is it time for a new stadium? Is it possible? Maybe, but not right now.
“The key is to realize that we are not LA,” Russ Brandon chimed in. Brandon is the Bills’ president and wants to see the Bills’ market increase before they take that big step. “We are not Atlanta. We’re not Minneapolis. People say, ‘Oh, we’re very similar to Minneapolis.’ They have 28 Fortune 500 companies in that community. We have zero. We have to be a regional operation. We know that. That’s proven,” Russ Brandon continued.
My take on it, is that the Bills definitely need a new stadium. However, so does every other team that hasn’t upgraded already. It’s just a matter of finding the funding for it and knowing that the revenue will be worth it. For the Bills, that just isn’t a thing right now.
I will say that there could be some changes to that statement depending on how their season goes this year. If they can make some noise in the NFL again and prove that there is a Bills’ market — even for other teams — then a new stadium could be possibility.
Right now, the Bills need to focus on one thing and one thing only — which in turn seems to be the same thing every other team is ignoring — and that’s winning. With all of the distractions elsewhere, this could be Bills’ chance to surprise some people.
As for the stadium, I would learn to love the traditional appeal if I were you. It’ll keep our support for the Bills authentic!
So, do the Buffalo Bills need a new stadium? Leave your comments below!