Subsidy Sheet Special Edition: Five Buffalo Bills Stories You Might Have Missed


There’s been no shortage of news about the Buffalo Bills stadium negotiations as 2022 draws closer and talks begin to wrap up. For that reason, we have a special Buffalo Bills edition of Subsidy Sheet, with five stories about the negotiations that you might have missed over the past couple weeks.

1. The Investigative Post has sued Empire State Development to get Buffalo Bills stadium reports commissioned by the Pegulas, who own the Bills.

These documents are critical to understanding the financial undertaking for the new stadium and the impact it will have on New York State and Erie County taxpayers,” the lawsuit states. “Releasing the studies will not impair a contract award because there are no competitors involved in the stadium negotiations.”

2. The new Buffalo Bills stadium could displace more residents than previously disclosed — 3000 more, to be exact (The Athletic). This would also affect businesses, schools, and churches. (See also the Investigative Post’s write-up on this.)

“These people have owned these houses all their lives,” Rich continued. “Where else are we going to buy a house and a piece of property like we got for whatever money they’ll give us to leave?”

3. The Buffalo News breaks down what leverage the Pegulas, New York State, and Erie County each have in the ongoing negotiations. The article details each player’s location preference, leverage, limitations, support needed, and what to watch for.

But the sticking points are complicated. Among the biggest: Where will the stadium be built – across the street from Highmark in Orchard Park, or on the outskirts of downtown Buffalo? In the public-private partnership that will fund the stadium, how much will the Bills – and perhaps the NFL – be expected to contribute? And how ironclad will this deal be? If Bills management wanted to break the lease and move the team, how easily could it do it?

4. Also in the Buffalo News, reporter Tom Precious explores how Governor Hochul’s spending spree could “grease the skids” for a large stadium subsidy. (See also Neil deMause’s post on this in Field of Schemes.)

Kaehny, the Reinvent Albany head, believes the odds of a Bills stadium financing deal could rest more with what positions Hochul’s opponents in June’s Democratic gubernatorial primary take than the Legislature. So far, she is facing two challengers: Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, both from Brooklyn … If those challengers can score political points with Democratic voters by criticizing a deal as a “giveaway to very rich Americans from the state and Erie County, which includes on of the nation’s poorest cities” – then Hochul could find stadium obstacles rising.

5. Representative Brian Higgins claims Governor Hochul and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz are pushing for the Bills to build the new stadium in downtown Buffalo (Buffalo News).

Higgins questioned whether any football stadium would produce a big economic payoff … “Everything that I’ve read is that stadiums really don’t add to the economic viability of an area,” he said.

If you got this from a friend, sign up here. Subsidy Sheet is written by Tom Speaker, Policy Analyst at Reinvent Albany. Please send questions and tips to tom [at] We look forward to hearing from you!