by Bob Gaughan, Buffalo Sports Page

Roger Goodell was in WNY last week stating that the Bills need a new stadium to be competitive. This is something he has said for sometime. My thoughts.

NFL vs the Mafia

The NFL has nothing on the mob. You know how the mob will shake down little business owners for protection. The mob will force small business owners to pay a ransom for their protection. There’s no reason to pay for this protection but the mob forces the money to come their way. This is all done behind the scenes.

The NFL does the same thing in the open. The NFL forces communities or at least tries to force communities to pay for things they don’t need. They hold them ransom. They want every last penny out of every last community. Roger Goodell vs Tony Soprano. Is there really much of a difference?

Negatives With A New Downtown Stadium

So let’s play out a new stadium. What do I get as a season ticket holder? First of all I will get a bill for a personal seat license. This is the new way to generate revenue for new stadiums. Some personal seat licenses are greater than others. But I should expect a bill just to have the right to pay for my ticket.

Parking will be a nightmare compared to the Cap. Talk to anyone that goes to the stadium and everyone has their favorite route. I’ve gone to the stadium on non-game days and it takes 30 minutes from my house. On game days I have it down to a science where it can take me 40 minutes to get home. Yes it only takes me 10 more minutes to get home than a normal day. I love it! Home to see most of the 4:20 starts.

Tailgating is what the Bills fans have come to love. For good and bad sometimes. With a new stadium tailgating would never be the same. There’s just not enough room. Tailgating would go away and for many Bills fans it is a important part of the gameday experience.

Number of seats in the stadium. Currently the Bills have the perfect number of seats for the demand. The Bills last year sold over 90 percent of the seats. This is for a team that went 6-10. Not bad at all if you ask me. You think about how well Bills fans have sold out the stadium in the drought. Few communities can say they would do better.

Positives for a New Stadium

For one, larger concourse areas. It’s almost impossible with the current structure to have larger concourse areas with the current set-up. You go to new stadiums and the concourse areas are huge. That would be nice.

More events that could be brought in because of a dome. College basketball might be able to bring a elite eight or Final four if a new stadium if built. It’s possible. The NFL might throw you a bone and have a NFL draft in Buffalo if a new stadium is built.

The only way I see local officials signing off on a new stadium if it is conjunction with a new convention center. Buffalo does need a new convention center to bring in more businesses.

Nicer and more luxury boxes. The Bills luxury boxes don’t stand up currently to some of the newer stadiums. This is something the average fan doesn’t care about, but I’m sure it is a big deal for the NFL.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is as a tax payer for our community the average fan doesn’t want or need a new stadium. The added benefits don’t add up to the bill that would come our way.

This doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. Goodell has a ton of power. And ultimately if forced I could see the fans and politicians giving into the man. This would be the way of the new world we live in. It’s a shame because now the Bills are from a by gone era. The Bills are a franchise that a small community has supported with all of their heart and soul for almost 60 years. The NFL doesn’t care about tradition, just money. Hold off as long as you can before giving into the man.

Bob Gaughan

Bob Gaughan has worked in Buffalo media for over 25 years. He spent 15 of those years as a staple on WGR radio as a talk show host and sports director. Currently, Bob works for UB Athletics on the radio broadcast of football and women’s basketball. Off the air, he has been an adjunct professor for over 20 years at Buffalo State College where he developed and has taught a class on how to be a talk show host.

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