Author: Lance Sabo
As community members, we understand that the decision to build a new stadium is not to be taken lightly, given that we will be committing our communities’ resources for next 40 years in hope that the Buffalo Bills do the same. NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell stated, “That the Buffalo Bills need a new stadium to remain competitive and economically viable.” New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo (D) is on record saying, “that keeping the Bills in Western New York is important to the region and a new stadium is a key component to help ensure that it happens.” His actions of establishing a “stadium committee” comprised of local/state government officials, community business leaders and Bills representatives and the hiring of the consulting firm AECOM to investigate the prospects of new stadium and possible locations, would seem to confirm that his concern and commitments are genuine. Prospective owner, Tom Golisano has also stated “that a new stadium would be necessary for the long term success of team.” The Bills organization, although they are members of the governor’s stadium committee, have yet to publicly comment on the prospect of a new stadium due to the passing of owner Ralph Wilson and subsequent process of settling his estate.
So where does that leave us, as both as members of the community and fans? You could use many analogies to describe our situation. The two that sum it up best for me are “we are on the outside, looking in” and “we are the odd man out.” Granted, I understand that previously mentioned parties have just begun to investigate this matter, but I’m still itching to have a seat at the table.
I must admit, that I am often mesmerized by the renderings of each new proposal; they all seem to include all of the latest and greatest amenities that modern stadiums could hope to offer; most featuring retractable roofs and enormous scoreboards. After I regain my senses, I can’t help but wonder, if it is really necessary for us to attempt to keep up with the “Jerry Jones(s)”of NFL?
As a region, I think we need to be honest with ourselves and accept that we not are in the same elite class as many of our NFL counterparts. Sure, we can take comfort that our cultural history and architectural richness are envied by many of those other cities. But, in truth we must also acknowledge that we are still playing catch up as we recover from what essentially was a century long economic tumble. I have no doubt in our ability to get a new stadium built, however, I believe that it must be “right sized” for our region’s population; that it must make sense for us both “functionally” and “monetarily;” that it should be beneficial to both the team and community; and finally, that it should reflect the current progressive attitude of our region and be in alignment with the various community initiatives that are already underway.
I, like you, have my own ideas of “what I would do, if I possessed the power to call the shots on this project.” Over the next few days, I will be sharing my thoughts, for better or worse, in a six part series. My intentions in writing this series are simple: I hope to inform, foster discussion, and ensure that when called upon to participate in the process, we are collectively ready.
Lance Sabo is currently a master’s student at Buffalo State College and will complete his master’s degree in economics and finance in the fall of 2014. Serves in the Air Force Reserves at the Niagara Falls Airbase and has been a Federal Civil Servant for 20 years. Contact Lance Sabo | twitter Lance_Sabo