Not surprisingly, Goodell again took the occasion to push for a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills, even seemingly subtly threatening the city and fan base.
Goodell spoke to reporters before teeing off at Kellys annual event, and was asked about the alleged need for the Bills to play in a new facility.
Politicians react to stadium talk
The reason why Im supportive is because I want to make sure this franchise remains stable here and continues and remain competitive, Goodell said, via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. And I think its great for this community. And weve been able to do these stadiums in such a way that it creates a tremendous economic benefit, too.
I want the Bills to be successful and I want them to continue to be competitive here in Buffalo.
The remarks are similar to the ones Goodell made in 2016 at the same event, when he said Buffalo must stay up with modern NFL facilities.
Roger Goodell still wants four-game NFL preseason shortened
Reporters on Monday pressed Goodell on whether that meant the Bills could relocate and he responded, I dont know about that.
Its nothing new to see the NFL and team owners threaten fan bases with relocation unless residents pony up the money for a new stadium.
Earlier this year at the NFL owners meetings, Buffalo owner Terry Pegula was asked about the stadium issue and said the league more or less wants to see something done one way or the other.
Buffalo is one of the smaller markets in the NFL, and any way we can increase our revenue, theyre for it, he said.
NFL wants an 18-game regular season. Heres what players should ask for in return. (Yardbarker)
Of course when it came to the billion-dollar question – would Terry and his wife, Kim, foot the bill for new home digs? – he answered, I dont know.
The Pegulas have commissioned CAA ICON to complete a market research study to help determine the best option. More than 30,000 people have been surveyed and focus groups have been held. The results are expected this summer.
I think the answer is probably a scaled-down version of some of these palaces that are being built around the country, Terry Pegula said at the owners meetings. The thing [Rams owner] Stan [Kroenke] is building in L.A. is amazing, Jerry Jones facility in Dallas. So we need to do something thats Buffalo style.
The Pegulas ponied up $18 million for a state-of-the-art performance facility that opened in April.
If Goodell wants the Bills to be competitive, having top-notch practice, treatment and meeting spaces for players – you know, the people who actually determine wins and losses – to use on a daily basis is a lot more important than a stadium they use 10 times a year.
Erie County owns New Era Field, and in 2012 the Pegulas signed a lease that runs through 2023; the deal includes $130 million in renovations to the building.
Local News Bills need new stadium to stay “competitive” says Goodell 12:46 PM, Jun 03
Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz said in March that renovation might be more beneficial than a new stadium: We know if we can extend the lifespan of that stadium for another 25 years, and if it worked for our market, why would we not do that?
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Poloncarz downplays Goodells comments about new stadium for the Bills
Poloncarz has a point, and the Bills wouldnt be the only franchise to take the renovation route: Arrowhead Stadium, which is slightly older than New Era, underwent a $375 million renovation about a decade ago; the Hunt family paid $125 million of that, and the rest was paid by Jackson County, which owns the facility.
Soldier Field, the second-oldest stadium in the NFL (L.A. County Coliseum is oldest), underwent extensive renovations in 2002-03, at a cost of $630 million. That, however, was paid for entirely by taxpayers, and as of 2016, residents were still paying for the project.
The NFLPA wants more money available for the lower paid players, a higher cap number, better health care both short and long-term, and money for retired and previous players. And they want more money from other sources than just TV contracts. This is where things may change the most. The NFL loves the rookie wage scale but the NFLPA may not offer it again this time around if the league doesn’t concede on other issues.
Goodells job is to promote and push for whatever the majority of NFL owners want, and to make those owners more money (those two things are not mutually exclusive, of course).
Unless Goodell knows something the rest of us dont – i.e. that the Pegulas want out already – the Bills have been a model of stability for the entirety of their existence: founder Ralph Wilson owned the team for over 54 years, until the day he died in 2014 at age 95.
Again, practice and training facilities, which can attract top free agents, seem far more important to the teams success than its home stadium. A great quarterback, good coach and strong front office are also more important.
The NFL has long wanted to extend the regular season by as many as two games. This has been met with a hard “no” from the NFLPA who cite concerns over injury and compensation to the players. The NFLPA has not come out and said they will 100% consider it but the league could be ready to make concessions that could make that happen.
Bills fans are proud, loyal (if a little crazy) and continue to attend games even though their team has made but one playoff appearance in the past 19 years.
But like many other cities that once thrived on manufacturing, Buffalos population is half what it was at its peak in 1950; Erie County has lost roughly 200,000 residents since the 1970 census. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month that the average weekly wage in Erie is $925, or $48,100 annually.
Kelly, Goodell share opposing views on new Bills stadium
There are currently 2019 Bills season tickets available through the team website for $468 – if the team builds a new stadium, what are the odds they remain relatively affordable like that?
Goodells contention that a new stadium would be an economic boon for the county and area is dubious as well – stadium deals almost always benefit the team, not the government that owns it.
Even though Erie County owns the stadium, the Bills reap the money that came from the reported seven year, $40 million naming-rights deal with New Era.
As outlined in The Atlantic last November, cities dont benefit like sports teams and leagues want you to believe. The construction jobs created when a new arena is built are temporary, and its not always local workers who get them.
Longtime NFL Franchise Could Move Cities Without New Stadium
The majority of jobs tied to stadiums are low-paying and seasonal: concession stand workers, ticket scanners, suite attendants and the like work only when the stadium is being used.
The NFL commissioner was in the area Monday and said he supports a new Bills stadium “because I want to make sure this franchise remains stable here, and continues, and remains competitive.”
Goodells calculated comments came at Jim Kellys annual golf tournament. The event is said to be a good time, but the NFL commissioner didnt travel to Batavia, New York on a chilly June morning just to play golf. He came to send a message. He chose to give a press conference knowing hed have a receptive audience and reaffirmed what the league would like to see happen in an uncertain but potentially lucrative situation: The construction of a brand new stadium, not just renovations. And of course, that comes with the not-so-subtle suggestion of a hefty taxpayer contribution.
That point was evidenced when Goodell claimed this about a new stadium: “I think its great for this community. And weve been able to do these stadiums in such a way that it creates a tremendous economic benefit, too.” If that wasnt a clear enough attempt to set the stage for public funding, Goodell erased any doubt later by mentioning stadiums are “a public-private partnership in almost every case.”
The NFL typically uses the promise of economic benefit and the threat of relocation to leverage hundreds of millions from taxpayers in stadium deals, but there is limited evidence of stadiums providing their promised economic impact. A simple Google search provides a trove of research on the subject. Recommendations for further reading include pieces from the Berkeley Economic Review, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and the University of Chicago, which polled a panel of economic experts on the subject. The articles are compelling, but if you dont have time to read them all, two economics professors boiled it down well in the conclusion of their 2008 paper:
“The large and growing peer-reviewed economics literature on the economic impacts of stadiums, arenas, sports franchises, and sport mega-events has consistently found no substantial evidence of increased jobs, incomes, or tax revenues for a community associated with any of these things.
Roger Goodell: New stadium would allow Bills to remain competitive and stable
“Focusing our attention on research done by economists, as opposed to that of scholars from public policy or urban development and planning departments, we find near unanimity in the conclusion that stadiums, arenas and sports franchises have no consistent, positive impact on jobs, income, and tax revenues. If professional sports franchises and facilities do not have any important positive economic impact in the local economy, then subsidies for the construction and operation of these facilities are even more difficult to justify.”
Roger Goodell knew exactly what he was doing Monday. The man who answers to the NFLs 32 owners stopped by to reiterate that the Bills could make more money for the league. Its uncertain how far hed get with the threat of relocation – ownership seems especially averse to alienating the fanbase given that it also owns the hockey team (dont forget Terry Pegula cried when he met members of the French Connection) – but if theres an opportunity to make more money, the NFL is going to try.
Jim Kelly says Bills tapping into his knowledge to help Josh Allen: Kelly said he has been “sitting in some meetings with the offense.” Its hard to tell how much actual coaching Kelly is giving Allen, but if nothing else the Bills franchise quarterback is getting an appreciation of the teams glory years.
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