Friday, September 21, 2018

Pegula: Bills stadium plans on hold until after elections

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — In preparing to open their 46th season in Orchard Park, New York, this weekend, the Buffalo Bills are setting their sights on longer-term plans in determining whether to renovate their existing facility or build a new one.

Bills co-owner Kim Pegula told The Associated Press both options are on the table, though formal discussions won't begin until after New York's gubernatorial race is settled in November.

"That makes sense, and regardless of who wins or doesn't win, that would be for us the prudent thing to do," Pegula said during a wide-ranging interview Wednesday, four days before the Bills' home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. "There's no reason to cause a lot of distractions right now."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose administration played a role in negotiating the team's current lease in 2012, is running for a third term, and being challenged by Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic primary. Marcus Molinaro is the Republican candidate.

Pegula reiterated while there have been internal discussions regarding the future of their current home, New Era Field, no decisions have been made, and the team has not yet hired a consultant to conduct a feasibility study.

The clock, however, is ticking, with Pegula saying she would like to have the framework of a plan in place before the current lease expires in the summer of 2023.

"Oh, I certainly think we're going to be on our way or at least knowing a direction or a path by the time the lease is up," she said.

"I don't want to put a time frame on it. I know that people here want the team to stay here," Pegula added. "They all know something needs to be done. To what extent? No one yet has come out and said what it is."

The next step becomes meeting with state and local officials to determine how much public money might be available to fund an expensive project no matter which option the Bills choose. A state-funded study in 2014 estimated the next renovations at New Era Field would cost $540 million, including structural improvements and rebuilding the stadium's third deck. A new facility would cost almost double, depending on location, whether it features a roof, and how much infrastructure upgrades — expanded roads, access ramps, public transportation — might be necessary.

The state and county have a stake in New Era Field, which opened in 1973. Nearly $227 million of taxpayer money was committed to renovations and annual capital and game-day expenses over the current 10-year lease. The Bills' share was $35.455 million, not including the $18 million the team spent on upgrading club seats this year.

The Bills are the NFL's only New York-based team and estimated to generate $20 million in annual tax revenue in 2012.

Pegula understands cost is an issue and takes into account how the Bills are based in one of the NFL's smallest markets, and feature some of the league's lowest average ticket prices. As a result, she said it's not feasible to propose building a new stadium on the grand scale the Rams are erecting in Los Angeles.

"We don't know where it's going to be, how much, how little, who's going to the partners, where we can even get to as a marketplace," Pegula said, noting she's not sure whether seat licensing fees can work in Buffalo.

"All these questions we haven't figured out. But certainly, we're going to do everything we can on our side to provide, upgrade and bring about a much more progressive fan experience," Pegula said. "Eventually, one answer will rise to the top. But certainly there's going to be multiple options out there."

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Comments
'Divorce Court' woman accused of sex with boy, 15; he says he may fave fathered her newborn

'Divorce Court' woman accused of sex with boy, 15; he says he may fave fathered her newborn

HUDSON — A 26-year-old woman has been charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious battery after a 15-year-old boy told deputies he could be father of her newborn child, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said.The boy, who has not been name...
Updated: 2 minutes ago

Saturday’s letters: We need stats that reflect our lives

We’re measuring the economy all wrong | Column, Sept. 18We need stats that reflect our livesMajor news outlets have uniformly declared the U.S. economy to be sizzling, on fire. This column was correct in wanting us to take a second, hard l...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Andrew Gillums talks tighter gun control in Broward County

Andrew Gillums talks tighter gun control in Broward County

Andrew Gillum came to Broward County on Friday to raise money and talk about guns.Sheriff Scott Israel helped him with one, but not so much the other.Appearing outside his campaign's Plantation office to unveil an endorsement from gun-control group E...
Updated: 7 minutes ago

Monday’s letters: Dr. Robert Judson made great contributions to Pasco-Hernando State College

A pioneer in Pasco-Hernando education | Sept. 19Robert Judson pushed education forwardI had the pleasure of working with the late Dr. Robert Judson, the former president of what is now known as Pasco-Hernando State College, for many years. During...
Updated: 7 minutes ago

Here are some selected readings from the left and from the right

We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.FROM THE LEFTFrom “The Fate and Future of Chris...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Watch: A southern white rhinoceros calf just a week after being born at ZooTampa

Watch: A southern white rhinoceros calf just a week after being born at ZooTampa

TAMPA — A southern white rhinoceros gave birth to a calf at ZooTampa on Sept. 12, marking the sixth successful birth of the species in the zoo's history. In a news release, ZooTampa said southern white rhinoceroses are a nearly threatened spec...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
‘Strippers, Cigars and Gasparilla’: Topher Morrison wants to rebrand Tampa

‘Strippers, Cigars and Gasparilla’: Topher Morrison wants to rebrand Tampa

No one can accuse Topher Morrison of not having ideas.The branding consultant turned political candidate has lots of them. Make Tampa known for its rooftop scene? Yes, and: hold a contest to see who can build an elevator that wraps around a building ...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
What did Ron DeSantis do during his tour in Iraq?

What did Ron DeSantis do during his tour in Iraq?

Way back on June 25, Ron DeSantis released his first TV ad as he faced off with Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam for the Republican nomination for governor.His first words in the ad, as he introduced himself to Florida voters: "Ron DeSantis, I...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Vote by mail has been a stunning success in Florida, increasing turnout and making it easy and convenient to cast a ballot with time to research and reflect. But a new study shows that mail ballots cast by African-American, Hispanic or younger voters...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Deputies: Spring Hill man set fire to ex-girlfriend’s home in July

Deputies: Spring Hill man set fire to ex-girlfriend’s home in July

SPRING HILL — A 27-year-old man was arrested Thursday in connection with a July building fire, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.Christopher Lamar Jamison of Spring Hill faces 10 counts of attempted murder and charges of arson and agg...
Updated: 28 minutes ago