Over the past few months (and frankly, years), we have seen a lot of questions about renovating Highmark Stadium (or Bills Stadium or New Era Field or Ralph Wilson Stadium or Rich Stadium). Fans of the Buffalo Bills love it there, but it turns 50 at the end of the current lease, necessitating a new stadium.
Despite huge renovation projects at Lambeau Field, Soldier Field, and Arrowhead Stadium, a similar renovation would not work in Orchard Park writes Tim Graham of The Athletic.
“Those three have undergone several hundred million dollars in renovations to keep them contemporary, but the structural integrity of Highmark Stadium doesn’t allow a similar possibility,” writes Graham.
He references a number of $400 million just to make the stadium “upright.” That wouldn’t update the stadium to provide nicer amenities or generate additional revenue—just simply maintain status quo.
Ask your fan friends who have gone to other stadiums what the difference is, and you might be amazed by what they say. Sure, it can lead to a stark and lifeless building like MetLife Stadium, but other new stadiums are vibrant and full of cool stuff to do and ways to spend money.
Oh yes, the money thing. Bills fans love tailgating. They come in at kickoff and leave right after. That doesn’t generate revenue for the Pegulas nor the NFL nor the County nor the State. If the stadium is going to become an economic driver like they want, they need to expand the footprint of the games and get more people inside before and after the game or in team-owned facilities around the stadium.
If they want more revenue to cover the costs of the stadium, a new stadium is the only way that’s going to happen based on a $400 million repair.