The Buffalo Bills are going to need a new stadium in the next decade. The team, state, and county have been working on the eventuality since before Kim and Terry Pegula bought the team. How they are going to pay for it is something of a debate, with multiple interests not wanting to be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars.
This week, the Golden State Warriors announced that they would be charging a unique kind of Personal Seat License to ticket holders at their new arena. PSL’s have been around for a while, mostly in the NFL, as a way for owners to raise a lot of capital upfront so they had to finance less money and allowing them to pay less interest. Essentially, you pay a large fee just for the ability to purchase season tickets. The twist the Warriors have introduced would pay back the fee after a period of time.
This acts as a 30-year, interest-free loan for the organization. For the fans, at least they will get their original $10,000 back. Most PSLs are a fee, not a loan, and you never see that money return.
That’s not to say it’s perfect. $10,000 in 1987 has the same buying power as $21,849 today according to Dollar Times, so make no mistake; fans are still footing the bill and losing out on the deal. But if the choice is between non-refundable PSLs and one where you get your money back eventually, the latter is preferable.
It’s also interesting to note that a similar option was investigated locally back in 2014. The Buffalo Fan Alliance discussed selling shares that would be loaned to the new Bills owner interest-free in the same manner as these PSLs. It wasn’t tied to season ticket sales, and you could purchase a share in different amounts, but it’s the same concept. We broke it down with the organization’s president back then, and it would theoretically still be on the table now. (Though, if I was Kim & Terry Pegula, I would want it in-house instead of dealing with the BFA or another outside entity.) The original concept was to keep the team local by supporting it, even with a small financial contribution.
There are lots of folks that would argue fans shouldn’t be paying for it at all. We support the team week in and week out, even without a winning product and the team should pay the entire cost of a new stadium. Other fans say we don’t need a new stadium at all. Regardless of your stance on the stadium issue, there are multiple options out there to finance the new building. This is another possible spoke on the wheel.