On March 28th, 2022, Governor Hochul announced New York State and Erie County will give Terry and Kim Pegula, owners of the Buffalo Bills, $1.13 Billion in taxpayer subsidies over the next 30 years. The deal includes the largest NFL stadium subsidy in history for a new, smaller Bills stadium in Buffalo’s suburb of Orchard Park plus ongoing state operating subsidies. The deal has yet to be approved by the state legislature.
What We Know About Proposed Pegula/Bills Subsidy Deal
- Terry and Kim Pegula of Boca Raton, Florida, owners of the Bills, will get at least $1.13 billion in subsidies from New York taxpayers over the next thirty years.
- The Pegulas have an estimated personal worth of $5.8 billion.
- The Pegulas’ share of the NFL’s new media deal is worth $3.5 billion– which means the Pegulas gain $321 million a year for 11 years just for having the Bills’ games on TV.
- New York State taxpayers will give Pegulas $880 million.
- Erie County taxpayers will give the Pegulas $250 million.
- The current and previous owners of the Bills have already received at least $254 million in subsidies (including operating support) from the state and Erie County since 2004.
- The new stadium will hold about 60,000 fans versus 71,000 in the existing stadium – 10,000 seats fewer.
- The governor says the new stadium will cost $1.4 billion – but based on industry norms, it should be assumed the stadium will cost $1.5 to $2.1 billion.
- The state says the Pegulas will cover cost overruns, but have not provided details.
- The state’s own analysis says the new stadium would not significantly benefit the economy and would raise only $27 million in annual state and county taxes.
- Most of the new jobs the state claims will be created are temporary construction jobs that would be created by any government construction project.
- Numerous studies by independent experts show stadium projects are a bad investment of public funds.
- State and Erie County officials have gone out of their way to thwart an accurate estimate for renovating the current stadium, according to Buffalo’s Investigative Post. NY State and Erie County claim refurbishment would cost $862 million, but actual reno cost may be many hundreds of millions of dollars less expensive.