But many of these stadium deals cost the public coffers, and economic research has shown that professional sports stadiums rarely have a significant impact on overall economic growth.
“The public and lawmakers need to be given both the information and the time to fully evaluate this,” said Patrick Orecki, director of state studies at the Citizen Budget Commission, a tax watchdog.
In recent years, many New York sports teams, from the Yankees to the Mets, have largely paid for their own stadiums, although many stadiums were built with government support in the form of free land, tax breaks, and infrastructure improvements in the area. †
Madison Square Garden in Manhattan has had a property tax exemption since 1982, while the Barclays Center in Brooklyn received $260.3 million in state and city funding, as well as property tax exemptions. The baseball fields for the Yankees and Mets received tax breaks and tax-exempt bonds, but the teams pay off the bonds with income from their stadiums.
If taxpayers are ultimately responsible for about $1 billion for a new Bills stadium, that would equate to more than 70 percent of estimated construction costs, which is in line with recent stadium deals in smaller markets in the NFL, according to an analysis by The Buffalo News. But the size of the subsidy remains on the high side, both in the state and across the country.
Public funding has been less on the last two NFL stadium deals. When the Rams moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2016, the Rams owner paid in full for the team’s new stadium in Inglewood, California. But when the Raiders moved from Oakland, California to Las Vegas in 2020 for a $2 billion stadium, Nevada’s Clark County contributed $750 million in bonds backed by hotel receipts.
While the financing terms for a Bills deal remain unclear, some have argued that a large state grant is needed because Buffalo is one of the smallest markets in the NFL, meaning it lacks the collection of major corporate sponsors paying top dollar for stadium name rights. , luxury boxes and subscriptions.