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Three Reasons The Bills Should NOT Move Downtown

Ralph Wilson Stadium
(Flickr.com user mark.watmough)

It’s been brought up again.  Should The Bills make a new home in downtown Buffalo or should they plan on setting up camp in Orchard Park again for a couple years?  There are pro’s and con’s to both sides and I’m sure part of me says that I’m selfish for saying it, but I hope they DON’T move.

I can totally understand why you would want a stadium downtown.  A new building with a retractable roof could be used around the year for all kinds of events.  It might bring more attention to bars and restaurants downtown and will probably bring a ton more people with it every Sunday throughout the fall.  However, aside from the fact that I don’t live far from the stadium now, here are a list of my own selfish reasons that I hope the Bills stay put where they are.

1.  Parking/Traffic – Have you ever tried to leave a Bills game at The Ralph?  It gets pretty congested pretty quickly in Orchard Park.  Now picture being downtown where there is even less room to spread out.  80,000 people trying to get out of downtown Buffalo all at the same time.

Plus, try parking.  It’s hard enough to park downtown when we just have to work and parking costs 7-8 dollars.  Now crank it up to $25 or more.  At least in Orchard Park there are private owners who keep their prices at a reasonable 10-15 dollars.

2.  Gametime Experience/Tailgating – If you’ve ever been to a Bills game at The Ralph, you know that the pre-game festivities are just as fun as the game (sometimes more fun).  It truly is a carnival type of atmosphere.  I’m not sure, but I can imagine the rules and regulations might change a bit if they moved the stadium downtown.

3.  A New Stadium Costs More — Stadiums can cost millions to billions of dollars now.  According to From This Seat, the brand new Cowboys Stadium cost 1.3 billion dollars.  You really have to take into consideration that yes, it may bring in more money, but how long will it take to get that much money back? 

Plus, with Mark Poloncarz saying that he thought he could get a deal done on a new lease for the Bills before training camp, what would it cost for the Bills to pull out of it?  If Erie County commits to a long term lease at The Ralph, would there be a penalty?

As it is right now, the stadium does need a couple million dollars of repairs to bring it up to code.  I’m not a mathematician, but even I know that a couple million is less than a billion for tax payers.

Plus…for people like me who have been going to Bills games for years in the same place…won’t it just be weird to go somewhere else?  It would be like watching a game in Toronto.  Just not the same…

For those of you that say,”forget the Bills, get rid of them!” you can save that argument for someone else.  If you don’t like the team, that’s fine.  But keep in mind that they do create a good number of jobs and income for people across Western New York.

What do you think?  Should The Bills make the move to downtown to help foster some more economic growth there?

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