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Downtown Stadium, Downward Economy

by on April 17, 2012
Ralph Wilson Stadium

Cold weather might be the biggest advantage the Buffalo Bills have. Sure, Mario Williams is now under contract to ruin the hopes and dreams of opposing quarterbacks. But forcing enemies to play through the same frigidity that makes locals tough may have kept the team from losing even more frequently, which is no small accomplishment.

So why take it inside? A retracted dome in downtown Buffalo would only be good if it remained retracted during brutal weather stretches that energize the home side and intimidate soft visitors.

It would be foolish for the franchise to play in December indoors. Still, a new facility near the city’s heart would be great for both the team and area. But that doesn’t mean the latter should pay for the facilities of the former. A new home field downtown sounds like a sound idea up until we get to financing details:

Could a new stadium be heading to the Queen City? It’s a proposal that’s being discussed inside city hall. Mix 1080 AM WUFO Sports Director Patrick Freeman says he has a plan to bring a new multi-use stadium to the heart of downtown Buffalo and presented his ideas to the Buffalo Common Council Tuesday.

Freeman believes Ralph Wilson Stadium is too outdated and a new facility would be a boost for the region. Freeman envisions a stadium along Buffalo’s waterfront intact with a retractable roof to help allow it to function year-round.

First, they must pass a law guaranteeing that the lid is not deployed when Miami visits so the Dolphins will still freeze off their squishy mammal asses. Football is a blast when played in any of the elements, although exposure to the vagaries of the seasons remains one of the building’s few positives:

This proposal comes at a time when the Buffalo Bills are exploring options to improve the Orchard Park facility. The organization has hired a world class architectural firm to study possible improvements to the existing structure.

Maybe they’ll move. But guess who would pay rent at their new digs? As a hint, taxpayers get a partial share that doesn’t even entitle them to season tickets:

Negotiations also continue with Erie County, since the stadium lease expires next july. The Buffalo Bills declined comment Tuesday. As for how the plan would be financed, Freeman says he’s not disclosing all the details just yet, but said a majority of it would come from the state.

You’d get to pay the Bills regardless of whether you like them. It’s reminiscent of how the horrid Nets got state money to help finance their rotten stadium in the irksomely hip borough of Brooklyn. They also abused eminent domain to get the full onerous government experience.

But a second city shouldn’t get a deal that’s bad for everyone else just because a first did. Instead of trying to grab a share from a government that takes so much, the goal must be for people to get their own shares while the government takes so little.

Besides, the guaranteed development never follows. Look around the the baseball stadium in downtown Buffalo that is now named after a famed soda pop brand for signs of life. You will only see so much. Nothing much has cropped up over the past two and a half decades that can be credited directly to the erstwhile Pilot Field, maybe in part because no one had any money to spend thanks to the taxes that went toward its construction.

The theoretical coliseum should be built and run by a private owner as a for-profit venture. There’s no surer way to guarantee it will be filled with ticket-buyers as often as possible. If nobody’s willing to invest their own money in a stadium, it tells us all we need to know about the venue’s viability.

Every business could argue that they deserve a subsidy by improving the circumstances of those around them. And none of them deserve it. Corporate slackers can pay their own bills.

Given the rate at which various governments hand out what had been your money, the area’s persistent rustiness (h/t Gerard Perry) remains as unsurprising as an idiotic Steve Johnson celebration. When will anyone involved learn better?

As seen nationally since 2009 and in Buffalo forever, the bribes to private concerns don’t work. Even if they did, they would come at the cost of taking income from people who could spend it on what they’d like.

We never see where that money would have went. Just like the stimulus was a lie by the word’s definition, the hyperactive involvement of state and local governments have created effects more reminiscent of ludes than adrenaline.

The Bills can buy their own things. Ralph Wilson is finally spending on contracts after about half a century that he mostly spent clipping coupons. Now, he can make a new stadium his legacy.

As a prototypical egomaniac, he would enjoy owning the barn and finally have earned the right to stick his name outside. He’d deserve the honor and revenue that comes with upkeep oh his property. It’s not too late to learn responsibility even in one’s 10th decade.

One Comment
  1. Yah, I miss those winter days where Bruce Smith would walk around in front of teams in short sleeves and just LAUGH at them

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