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New report says Buffalo Bills want nearly $1.5 billion in public stadium funding

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

Last weekend, The Buffalo News set off a firestorm on social media when they reported that Kim and Terry Pegula were asking for 100 percent public funding for a new $1.1 billion stadium for the Buffalo Bills. When details emerged the next day and tamped down the flames a bit, it didn’t look so bad to the informed masses.

Now, the News is back with a new report saying that the figure is even higher.

“This week, multiple sources with knowledge of the talks confirmed to The News the actual amount the team tossed out in its first proposal: $1.4 billion,” writes Tom Precious, Albany Bureau Chief. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Democrat from Buffalo Democrat, told Precious on the record the number she heard was about $1.5 billion.

The report also indicates that the reason for not moving the stadium downtown would be the massive cost of land acquisition and demolition. There are still people on both sides of negotiations that want the arena closer to Buffalo proper.

As a reminder, the $1.4 billion isn’t just sacks of cash with dollar signs on the side given to the Pegulas. Grants, tax breaks, infrastructure improvements, and a host of other funding streams would be part of the package.

Allegiant Stadium was $1.8 billion two years ago. SoFi Stadium was reportedly $2.66 billion. You’d have to go back to 2016 and U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota to find one under $1.1 billion, and while that’s a great target at which to aim, it was five years ago before a global pandemic and inflation undoubtedly raised the price.