What to cover about the new Bills’ stadium

The Buffalo Bills, New York State and Erie County are nearing an agreement for a new stadium for the Bills. The stadium is expected to help the local economy, but it also will be costly for taxpayers. It also could impact what the team does on the football field. What aspect of the story is most important for the media to cover?

Here are three opinions from students in a Media and Democracy course at St. Bonaventure University.

Kacie Filian:

With most headlines surrounding the economic risks and rewards associated with such a substantial investment as a new multi-million dollar stadium, another important aspect that is often overlooked in such negotiations is the benefit a new stadium would have to the players. The proposed open-air, grass stadium would not only boost team morale and be a valued bargaining tool to attract future signings, but may also positively impact the physical health of players.  

Well documented research by the NFLPA has shown that career-ending knee and ankle injuries are significantly more common in games that are played on Astroturf (which is installed at Highmark Stadium) compared to grass (a component of the newly proposed stadium). Although the NFL has had a bleak history of prioritizing profits over player safety, the Bills players who put their bodies on the line to get positive results are what drives a lot of the organization’s profit, including larger network deals and merchandise sales. Any attempt at lowering the rate of these injuries and maximizing player performance and sustainability in a sport that has very low career longevity to begin with should also be a serious consideration in these negotiations.

Ally Haskell:

Building a new football stadium in Buffalo would help ensure the Bills stay in Western New York, but what impact would this have on the taxpayers? Millions of taxpayer dollars from all of New York would be going toward the building of the new stadium, which would impact many citizens. The potential impact on the taxpayers is an aspect of the agreement that needs to be covered.

According to the NFL, the projected cost of the new stadium is $1.4 billion, with $850 million of that coming from New York State and local funding. This would be the most taxpayer funding that has ever gone toward a National Football League facility. New York State would contribute $600 million, with Erie County financing the other $250 million.

Though the funding of the stadium would be the highest contribution of taxpayer money, the public dollars would only cover about 60% of the total cost, which is lower than other recent NFL stadium deals. Governor Kathy Hochul has also stated that with the building of the stadium, every tax dollar that goes into the stadium will eventually pay for itself and the construction will help the economy.

Taxpayer dollars from all of New York State would be going toward the building of the new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. Some people might not see the value of millions of dollars being put toward the financing of a stadium as the money could be put toward funding something else instead, while others may see it as a necessity because the stadium is over 50 years old and would cost almost as much to fix it as it would to build a new one. If there is more coverage on the impact the stadium will have on the taxpayers, people in all of New York State may become more on board with construction or they may discover the opposite and believe this is a poor use of public money.

Samantha Moll:

Bills Mafia is fiercely loyal to the Buffalo Bills, and a new stadium will be welcoming the mafia very soon. I’d love to see the media provide more fan opinions on the creation of this stadium. I would like to know if there will be a grand opening with any special offers or gifts to fans when they enter the new stadium.

I would love to see the differences and updates between the current stadium and the new one.

Additionally, will this field be used year-round and open to the public when the Bills are not playing in season or training in the off-season? I believe it would be beneficial to use the stadium year-round and teams would love to compete there in sports such as soccer, lacrosse, and of course, football.

Categories: Jandoli Institute, Media, Politics, Sports

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