In Orchard Park, NY there will be a $130 million dollar renovation of Ralph Wilson Stadium, the home of the NFL Buffalo Bills franchise. The 40-year-old stadium’s lifespan is being prolonged and it is hoped that the future of the Bills’ team in Western New York will be secured by a stadium replacement
One thing that needs to be kept in mind is that the current facility is unsuitable for any sporting event other than American Football. The configuration of the field precludes its use as a multipurpose ground. Any new facility must be multipurpose.
Cities like Cleveland know that. Their NFL franchise the Cleveland Browns know that. Their stadium, First Energy Stadium, is multipurpose. It hosts other events, such as college and high school football games, soccer games, and concerts.
The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team announced that on May 29th, it will play an exhibition match against the Belgian Men’s National Team at First Energy. People from around the nation will come to Cleveland for the match. Hotel, food, car rental, and entertainment spending will be generated in the community for this match.
Just just this past summer in Baltimore, “M & T Bank Stadium” (M & T is headquartered in Buffalo), the home of the NFL Baltimore Ravens played host to an English Premier League Football (soccer) match between the Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool Reds attracting 50,000 fans. Money was made that day.
In Orchard Park, after the NFL season and local high school football championships, Wilson Stadium remains unused, unproductive, and non-revenue producing for remaining 95% of the calendar year. We really have to think about what is of benefit to the community when deciding to invest hundreds of millions of dollars on sporting facilities. When the time comes, do we really want to invest in single use structures over multiuse? Please don’t say “yes” to single use.